As a traditional print media journalist, I do at times find the superficial, artificial and unofficial social “news” channels very entertaining.
The raging debate about the planned new sex education curriculum is one of those times.
But let me first tell you about my first and only introduction to formal sex education. I was in Standard seven (now Grade nine) and chapter five of our biology handbook covered human propagation.
Our teacher was a conservative young woman in her first year of teaching and I could sense her trepidation as we approached chapter five.
By D-day, all of us in the class had read the said chapter, and discussed in depth our disappointment at the lack of visual study material.
Upon instruction from our teacher, we opened our books. A pinkish glow radiated from her cheeks.
Before she could say a word, one of the boys in the back closed his book with a silence-shattering smack and said: “I think it’s best if we take a practical approach.”
I was the first to laugh. It was a nervous shriek that escaped my lips, at least one octave higher than my normal voice and totally, utterly contagious. Pandemonium. The teacher ran out crying.
The principal interjected, cane in hand, and the matter was resolved before the first break.
We concluded our studies of the human anatomy – and all the other topics covered by the curriculum that year – and to our teacher’s credit, we not only passed Standard seven biology, but we all made it through matric without a single pregnancy.
That was the early 1980s.
Now, a new debate rages about the same age-old topic.
But this time, fake news is being circulated by emotional parents and organisations with dubious motives while the education department is apparently running around crying.
And that while South Africa is plagued by an abhorrently high rate of teenage pregnancies.
Can’t we just reprint that old Standard seven biology handbook and ask the principal to interject, cane in hand, when the children become too obnoxious?
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