The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria organized a webinar on 21 June 2024 to discuss and assess implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in South Africa. The aim of the webinar was to assess CSE delivery in South Africa through Life Orientation (LO) subject in schools.  

The panelists for the webinar include Pierre Brouard Acting Director of the Center for Sexualities, AIDS, and Gender at the university of Pretoria, Susan Mutambasere, Project Officer at the Women’s Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; Dr. Yolandi Woest, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria. The webinar was moderated and coordinated by Eden Getnet, Elsa Melissa Tapsoba, and Zororai Nkomo, as part of the Women’s Rights Unit’s 2024 Clinic mandate.

The virtual discussion helped in clarifying and unpacking the concept of CSE through debunking some myths associated with CSE. The discussion helped to debunk the ongoing misconception that CSE in school is a subject where young people are taught about sex. It highlighted that CSE is not only about sex but an array of issues which affect young people. It was further highlighted that the goal of CSE is to equip children with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to make informed decisions about their own bodily autonomy.

The panelists identified significant issues related to the perception and misconceptions around Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) by communities. It was revealed that these perceptions were mainly caused by cultural and religious beliefs.  

However, the discussion showed that despite the existence of CSE in South Africa’s education curriculum, the implementation remains a challenge. Some of the challenges which came out were societal norms and culture, myths and misconception that CSE means that young people will be taught sex in school and lack of training of teachers who are dedicated to teach CSE in Schools. Another major takeaway from the discussion was that teachers who teach CSE should be declared frontline workers due to the job they are taking in shaping the lives of young people.   

Expert evidence provided during the panel discussion showed that successful implementation of CSE will go a long way in addressing problems such gender based violence (GBV), High Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in young people and provide information for young people to understand issues of sexuality so that they can make informed decisions.

The panelist underscored the need for more investment in Comprehensive Sexuality Education and more awareness building for communities, policy makers and other stakeholders to understand the true meaning and intention of CSE in schools.


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