A two-day Colloquium on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) was held by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on Monday, 22 and Tuesday, 23 November 2021, in the CSIR Conference Centre in Brummeria, Pretoria. This seminar was held under a main theme which explored "the key to gender responsive and socially inclusive education".
The CSE has been a part of the school curriculum since the year 2000, with recent changes being made to it in 2015 when the Department developed the Scripted Lesson Plans (SLPs), which are now being trialed in five provinces across South Africa, to strengthen the teaching of CSE in schools.
The CSE curriculum in Life Orientation aims to teach learners about the importance of consent, about how their bodies are theirs, and about how to recognise sexually inappropriate behaviour.
At the seminar, academics, professionals, health and education experts covered topics such as the Intersections of Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Social Inclusion and Gender Diversity.
"We have taken it a step further to assess the gender responsiveness of CSE, whether it does in fact respond to the gender diversity needs of the children and the educators who are delivering on the content," said the DBE's Director for Social Cohesion, Likho Bottoman.
He says that the seminar gives them an opportunity to reflect and review and go back and fill any gaps in the CSE offering of basic education.
The public has not always received the CSE well as there have been misunderstandings regarding what is expected from educators. These educators have however said that the SLPs and additional research has helped.
Social worker, Sihle Maseko says that it is important that there is inclusive representation during lessons on CSE and that young children should be equipped to protect themselves at all times. He says that it is both harmful to learners and their peers outside of school if they are not properly educated on how to protect themselves when they explore their sexuality.
The core aim of the CSE is to ensure that learners build an understanding of concepts, content, values and attitudes related to sexuality, sexual behaviour as well as how to lead a safe and healthy life.