Parents resist sexuality education through digital activism
South Africa has high rates of HIV infection among its young population, high rates of unintended pregnancies among youth, and extremely high rates of Gender-Based Violence. These high rates all point to a need for skills-based education to provide accurate and relevant information for young people to manage their sexuality. Through the Life Orientation (LO) curriculum, the Department of Basic Education offers age-appropriate sexuality education as a response to these concerns. However, research in sexuality education shows that there is a lack of guidance and preparedness by educators, which hampers how it is delivered in South African schools. A recent attempt by the Department of Basic Education (DBE), to upscale and strengthen the sexuality education curriculum in South African schools, was met with resistance from parents and other lobby groups. This resistance was driven across multiple media platforms, and particularly through an online hashtag #LeaveOurKidsAlone, largely on Facebook and Twitter. Through this resistance, we are introduced to parents/adult responses to the teaching and learning of CSE in South African schools, a voice that has largely been missing in this debate. Working within a broad qualitative framework, this paper utilizes critical discourse analysis to map out some of the key discourses emerging from the #LeaveOurKidsAlone resistance, in an attempt to understand how parents/adults, use social media to resist Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in South Africa. This paper is critical in foregrounding adult voices and their implications to the teaching and learning of CSE in South African schools.
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