Somebody’s lying. Either the specialist consultants who helped craft the new life orientation (LO) curriculum. Or the spokesperson for the department of basic education who vigorously denies the media reports. Lying about what? That Grade 4 children will now learn about masturbation.

Now, before your parental blood pressure spikes out of control, let’s take a step back. In most democracies there are three curriculum topics that get parents hot under the collar: religion, evolution and sex. Religion, because conservative parents become very un-Christian when religious observances come under threat in public schools. Evolution, because for many Christians God created man, end of story. Sex in the curriculum causes the most friction of all. So when the Sunday Times headlined a report “Grade 4s to learn about masturbation in the new life orientation curriculum”, all hell broke loose. If the media reports are accurate, I side with the parents, but for perhaps different reasons. I do think that schoolchildren should learn about life, and that includes sex. However, to introduce the subject of “touching oneself for pleasure” to children coming out of the foundation phase is pure dumb. But I suppose that’s what you get when the legendary “Dr Eve” is part of the expert i...

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