By Aneeqa du Plessis
With the contentious issue of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) being implemented at local schools under the guise of pregnancy prevention, several community leaders have expressed their uneasiness at the tender age in which learners are being subjected to the topic. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) confirmed that its CSE initiative was being implemented from Grade 4 under the subject life orientation as part of the current curriculum.
Speaking on VOC’s Breakfast Show on Wednesday morning, Second Deputy President at the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) Shaykh Riad Fataar said the concern was a moral degradation perpetuated in society.
“People are no longer shy to disobey their creator. We have forgotten that we will be held to account when we die thus whatever the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) brings upon our children, we are guided by Islam,” explained Fataar.
Fataar added that there was no consultation made by the WCED to faith based communities on the scripting of the CSE syllabus and how it will be taught. He added that pressure will be pursued on institutions that compromise the teachings of shariah [laws of Islam].
“Our madrassas [schools] have been teaching students about the journey of becoming a grown man/woman but we have always established a moral compass in how we impart this knowledge. Teachers need to be modest when they approach this delicate subject,” stated Fataar.
Meanwhile, Trustee of Progressive Principals’ Association, Riyaad Najaar said he believes there is a dire need for sexual education in a secular space now more than ever.
“There has been an absence of sexual education from faith based organizations. I believe that churches and mosques have not done enough to teach our youth about sexual awareness and we cannot depend on parents to teach their kids because they weren’t taught either,” explained Najaar.
Former Principal at South Peninsula High School, Brian Isaacs shared the opinion that it is human nature and it cannot be avoided any longer.
“It is a serious matter, we live in a world where people want to express their sexual orientation and quite frankly I think it is imperative that in infant years, parents address issues of a sexual nature with young children before they head into the classroom,” said Isaacs.
However, many locals believe that primary school learners are too young to be exposed to such an overt subject.
Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson in the Manenberg region, Pastor Vernon Visagie blamed the government for the gaping hole in society’s moral fabric. “We are reaping, what we sow and that is ultimately because we have given our authority to a corrupt government which is why we are facing such an insurmountable problems at our schools,” stated Visagie.
Mother of six, Tasneem Johardien, completely disagreed with the introduction of CSE at primary school. “They’re [educators] planting ideas in these impressionable minds. It wouldn’t be an issue if the subject was taught in high school but any age 13 or younger is shameful. What do these kids know about sexual intercourse,” questioned Johardien.
Yet, the latest figures recorded between March 2020 and April last year put the rate of pregnancy among girls under the age of 19 at 11.4% in the Western Cape.
In 2020, the country had a shocking amount of 33 899 births to girls aged 17 and younger, with over 500 of these girls aged 10 to 13.
An anonymous Muslim mother of five explained that the access to electronic devices at a young age plays a major factor in the exposure of explicit material to the youth.
“Learners need to be educated from a young age. They are exposed to explicit material at the touch of a button. Children are afraid to have the conversation with their parents and hence discuss it with their friends and this leads them to explore without limits and ultimately leads to unwanted pregnancies which has ruined the future of the younger generation.”