Youth and SRHR

Our priority areas

Comprehensive Sexuality Education

According to the Department of Basic Education’s website: “Comprehensive Sexuality Education was introduced in 2000 within the subjects of Life Orientation and Life Skills to ensure that learners do not get confusing and misleading messages on sex, sexuality, gender and relationships. CSE has thus been part of the South African Curriculum for almost 20 years. It provides scientifically accurate information, and builds positive values and attitudes, which enables young people to safely navigate the transition to adulthood.”

The core aim of CSE and the new structured lesson plans is to help learners build an understanding of concepts, content, values and attitudes around sexuality, sexual behaviour as well as leading safe and healthy lives. The Department of Basic Education has worked hard to develop a comprehensive curriculum that seeks to address real world challenges and issues faced by learners in their day-to- day lives. The global evidence base for the benefits of CSE is significant. The Department of Basic Education’s rigorous review of the literature found that:

  • CSE is not sex education
  • CSE does not teach learners how to have sex
  • CSE does not sexualise children
  • CSE does not only focus on the physical relationships between people
Despite the value that CSE has added to school curricula, it has received a lot of backlash from parents, religious groups and other societal groups, many of whom actively seek to oppose its continued implementation in schools, saying that the lessons are ‘graphic,’ will ‘corrupt’ children, and lead to increases in sexual violence. These groups often rely on disinformation and the misrepresentation of facts to support their claims. At SRJC we know that giving young learners accurate information based on scientific evidence and positive values around sexuality enhances learners’ ability to make healthy decisions for their lives. SRJC has a number of members invested in SOGIESC education advocacy confronting those that oppose CSE, and working with the Department of Basic Education to support the implementation of CSE in schools.

Gender-affirming policies in schools

SRJC members and their networks of concerned parents, organisations and health practitioners are undertaking various advocacy initiatives to support the implementation of gender-affirming policies in schools. Much of the advocacy revolves around confronting discrimination against trans kids in schools and pushing back against the promotion of harmful psychiatric practices for children, such as ‘conversion therapy,’ which unfortunately still make their way into school conversation spaces, despite the large evidence base for their harm.

Learn more about some of the advocacy SRJC members have undertaken by accessing the following statements, petitions and information pieces: