Conversation about Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) being taught as part of Life Orientation, is getting louder and more shrill and more visual. A banner seen recently in the Pretoria area states boldly: "Teach our kids maths, NOT masturbation" - SA Families say NO to CSE.
Surely parents should be in a position to inform their children on both subjects? The Department of Basic Education is responding just as strongly, distributing posters on CSE. The information shared on sexual violence and teenage pregnancy is the harsh realty of the lives of teens.
So where does the conversation start? What topics and who takes responsibility? Any conversation with a teenager is difficult; more so on the topic of sex (including masturbation). Parents do not need to be bullied into a position. Parents need to step-up and assert that they, as first but not last educators of their children, have the right to grab the space of communication with their children on all issues of family life. But parents also need to accept that their children will be informed and educated by teachers, the media, church leaders, community members and their peers.
Parents must be willing to become more engaged with the teaching and learning process, through more direct communication with their children, more contact with teachers and School Governing Bodies, as well as being active partners, not adversaries of the Department of Basic Education, in ensuring a relevant Life Orientation programme .