Students bizarre homework request shocks parents
Moral education textbook causes concern
A headmaster has branded a controversial new textbook on moral education as ‘morally inappropriate’ after form two students at his school were asked to name seven sex styles as a homework assignment.
One parent got the shock of her life last week when her 14-year-old form two daughter at Tlokweng Junior School approached her with a bizarre homework request from her teacher.
“She told me that they were given an assignment to go and ask about sex styles from their parents and list seven of them. I was totally shocked and the following morning I went to the school to establish the truth of the matter. That is when I learnt that sex education is in the syllabus as a topic in the Moral Education subject,” said the shocked mother (name withheld).
Apparently the young girl who was uncomfortable with asking her mother about a sex related issue just threw the book on the bed with the questions and ran away.
“I thought it was just something she had discussed with friends and was just being naughty, but the explanation I got from the school authorities was just too much,” said the girl’s angry mother.
Our investigations revealed that what the young girl called ‘sex styles’ was actually a topic that discussed forms of sexual satisfaction outlined in the book for Moral Education entitled A Fresh Start, a Ministry of Education prescribed text book for form two’s.
The book authored by C. Malense, U. Mokobi, S. Letsholo and V. Anderson, explicitly discusses forms of sexual satisfaction, and teachers who have to stand in front of young kids to teach the subject have expressed their concern over the topic.
Deputy Headmaster at Tlokweng Junior School Isau Jongman said he was also shocked by the content of the book.
“Obviously it is a problem. We are shocked that a syllabus can go to such an extent. It is against the morality of Batswana as we know them. Kids are being taught that there are two types of sexual intercourse defined as vaginal and anal. This is an alien concept that could be very dangerous to our young generation,” Jongman said.
Jongman went on to say that the objective creates confusion among students and makes life uncomfortable for teachers.
“Imagine if you had to teach something that is against your conscience; it is not right. Most young people today are mischievous and it is disturbing to see them too keen about this subject,” he said.
One moral education teacher at Nanogang Junior admitted that they usually avoid the subject or simply ask students to go and read for themselves.
“It is a question of how much say do teachers have in the drafting of the syllabus,” he said.
Publishers of the book, Diamond Educational Publishers, through their Managing Director Johnson Chengeta say it is not what is contained in the book, but what the syllabus requires.
“As publishers we put together a book according to the specifications of the syllabus and the Curriculum Department will recommend a book that satisfies the objectives as set out by themselves,” Chengeta said.
He added that although they might have reservations about some issues discussed in the syllabus as publishers, they still have to come up with a product that meets the requirements of the Ministry.
“Sex education is sensitive in nature, and Batswana are a conservative society. That is why we did not include pictures in this book,” he said.
Chengeta said teachers have a big role to play in using their prerogative to find suitable way to pass this sensitive information to the students.
One of the more disturbing specific objectives for teachers in the syllabus was in discussing the morality of forms of sexual satisfaction that included sex toys, masturbation, pornography and different forms of intercourse.
The outlined objective in the section also expects students to be able to explain measures of effective condom use.
“It is going to be very difficult for a teacher to stand in front of class and explain this because it seems to suggest that an actual condom should be used for a learner to verify that yes this condom has been effectively used,” admitted Chengeta.
However a Curriculum Officer who only identified herself as Mrs Acho distanced her department from the book saying no books have been prescribed yet for 2011 form two’s, event though it is listed in the Ministry’s official guide on prescribed books.