Parents should be the ultimate gatekeeper for comprehensive sex education in schools
Distance Education Service Provider, Brainline, says they are in the process of setting up a system that is password protected to ensure that parents can regulate access to the Comprehensive Sex Education curriculum.
Last month the Department of Basic Education released the scripted lesson plans to the public to alleviate their fears regarding comprehensive sexuality education content.
‘The whole concept of home education is rooted in giving parents the ability to determine the parameters of their children’s education. It is therefore important to allow parents access to the study material their children are exposed to so that they can decide how to manage the flow of information,’ says Coleen Cronje, Chief Executive Officer of Brainline.
Comprehensive Sexuality Education has been in the spotlight following media reports that from next year, textbooks for Grade 4 to 12 learners would include a curriculum approach that treats masturbation, sexual consent, gender non-conformity and single-parent families as mainstream. Many groups, including the South African Teachers’ Union, have labelled the implementation of this curriculum as inappropriate.
‘We have gone through the reading material and have not found anything too controversial, in fact, the current information is quite clinical and non-descriptive. None the less, we have put in place measures to ensure that the parents remain the final gatekeepers. We will continue to stay abreast of developments should there be changes in the future.’
The Department of Basic Education argues that the core aim of the sexual education and scripted lessons is to help learners build an understanding of concepts, content, values and attitudes related to sexuality, sexual behavioural change, as well as leading safe and healthy lives.
‘In no way do we claim to know what is best for another person’s child when it comes to these sensitive matters. It is therefore important that the power over the flow of information lies with the parents, as this will allow them to decide how to handle topics and issues they deem controversial or unsuitable for their child. We will, therefore, ensure that the information is available on our website and password protected so that the parents can manage access.’
Cronje says the idea of the protection of information also allows parents to guide their children through controversial and uncomfortable topics.
‘This is not about withholding information, but rather to ensure that the parents are aware of the content of the curriculum. Give parents the chance to have a look at the material beforehand, assess what the children can process at this stage of their development, and do it in a responsible manner so that it is an informative and educational process for both learner and parent.’
Cronje says it would be irresponsible to leave learners to their own device and allow them full access to the material without proper oversight. She says Brainline has always been very vigilant when it comes to providing study material to learners.
Brainline is a leader in home education and has provided structured home education on a distance education model to thousands of learners since 1990.
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