Christian groups clashed with Minister of Education Kader Asmal over Curriculum 2005, report Marianne Merten and Edwin Naidu
The revised National Curriculum Statement has seen Minister of Education Kader criticised in print and broadcast media for his “undemocratic” and “dictatorial” behaviour.
Opponents of the statement, including Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, MP, and leader of the African Christian Democratic Party, spoke out against the teaching of sex and religion at schools during a public hearing on the National Curriculum Statement last month.
“We don’t want our children to be taught about sexual intercourse. Children as young as seven will be taught how to put on and insert condoms,” Meshoe warned.
Scores of protesters outside Parliament carried placards saying “Jesus Christ in the answer to your troubled education” and “Down with secular humanism, up with the word of God.”
Tempers flared when United Christian Action spokesperson Robert McCafferty claimed that 12-year-olds are being taught how to perform oral sex as part of the curriculum. But Asmal asked: “Where does it say in the NCS that children will be taught oral sex?” When McCafferty referred to an NGO-drafted teacher-training manual, Asmal fired back: “Don’t give us that. What we want to know is where does it say that in a particular grade they do oral sex?” There was no answer.
The row between Asmal and Christian groups has been brewing for several months, starting with a vigorous letter-writing campaign in the media. Last month, the Teacher reported on the attacks against Asmal in newspapers and radio shows since the release of the statement in July. Parents and educators claimed Asmal’s behaviour regarding the curriculum was dictatorial and denied children the right to choose their own religious beliefs.
Leendert van Oostrum of the Pretoria-based home schooling movement, the Pestalozzi Trust, said the rights of children to privacy, psychological integrity and freedom of choice were denied in the proposed revision of the curriculum.
– The Teacher/M&G Media, Johannesburg, December 2001.