- Moral education divides public opinion
- Publishers defend textbook
There have been mixed reactions from members of the public to sex education in schools and the type of information that should be passed on to students.
This follows a story in The Voice last week where form two students asked parents for help in a homework in which they believed they had to find out about a variety of sex positions.
Although students misunderstood the assignment, as what they thought were sex positions were actually forms of sexual satisfaction, many of those we interviewed still maintained that the subject was not morally and culturally appropriate.
In the recommended textbook, Moral Education – A Fresh Start, which is being used by teachers though not yet distributed among students, forms of sexual satisfaction such as sexual intercourse, oral sex, masturbation, use of sex toys and looking at pornographic material are discussed.
In an interview last week, the Managing Director of Diamond, the company that published the book, Johnson Chengeta said the book was compiled to meet the needs of the curriculum.
Some general objectives of the curriculum include understanding sexual activity, understanding the different sexual practices and their moral implications and to be familiar with different types of sexual relationships.
Specific objectives of the curriculum include discussing the morality of forms of sexual satisfaction, explaining responsible ways of having sex, discussing the moral implications of having sex, the advantages of waiting for the right time to have sex, and to identifing factors affecting sexual negotiation.
Several parents and teachers have questioned if it is morally appropriate to expose form two students to such sexually explicit topics, which many say goes too far.
We took to the streets to gauge public reaction on the debate.
“Sex education is okay for school kids because they are vulnerable and they need to know what goes on in their lives as they grow up. I however feel that there has to be a limit. I’ve read about students being taught about sex positions or forms of sexual satisfaction and I feel that’s just too much for them. They need to be taught about the dangers of sex and they also need to know when to start sex because if they don’t they’ll start anytime.”
“The biggest mistake is to hide the truth from children. If they’re not taught, they’ll find out the wrong way. In Setswana culture it will be difficult for the older generation, but these are changing times and children need the necessary education to keep up. We need to tackle the cultural bottlenecks if we are to create a safe environment for our kids.”
“These days kids are exposed to a lot of things and I think sex education is very important at school. They need to be prepared for the consequences and the best preparation is learning about such things at an early stage. But I don’t think the education needs to be too explicit. It’s inappropriate to teach school kids things such as foreplay and sex positions.”
“Sex education is not necessary for school kids because it corrupts them. There’s just too much western influence nowadays and people think it’s just ok to exchange sexual experiences with their children. That’s total moral decay and it’s against our African tradition. There’s a whole lot of stuff that our children need to learn instead of asking their parents which sex positions they prefer. I have kids who are still at school and it really worries me if this is the stuff they’re taught.”
“This sex education thing is not necessary. Sex is an inborn thing and our bodies know when it’s the right time to indulge. What kids need to be taught is the fear of God so that they have some moral guidance. Once they know about God they’ll be able to differentiate between right and wrong. Sex education is just child abuse.
“Sex education is very important especially in the HIV/AIDS era. Kids are exposed to a lot of things these days and they need to be prepared for the challenges that life presents. We hear a lot of reports about teenage pregnancy and girls dropping out of school because of that. I think it is time education on such matters is gauged to accommodate participation by these young people.”