Advice Column, Child, Education, Parenting

Life skills curriculum in the media: Where does Impaq stand?

  • Impaq
  • Category Advice Column, Child, Education, Parenting

The Sunday Times article, ‘Sex lessons for modern grade 4s in new life orientation curriculum’ (12 May 2019), drew strong reactions from educators and parents alike. The article discussed the Department of Basic Education’s proposed changes to the content for sex education as part of the life skills curriculum. According to the article, the revised content includes explicit details for learners as young as ten. The department argues that the inclusion of sex education in the curriculum is aligned to UNESCO’s international technical guidance on sexuality education. In response to the article, the Department of Education denied that explicit information will be included in new textbooks.

How does this affect Impaq and our customers?

We create our own content, aligned to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS),  for Grades R to 9. Any changes to the curriculum are reviewed, interpreted and incorporated into our material, considering our market and our core values. The current changes under discussion for life skills and life orientation are only recommendations and not official policy changes.

With this in mind, we have taken the position that the curriculum for the Intermediate and Senior Phases remains unchanged and under personal and social wellbeing we will cover topics such as respect for own and others’ bodies, appropriate responses to bullying, the basic facts of HIV and Aids, children’s rights and responsibilities, cultures and moral lessons. Updating the current books for life skills and life orientation is not a priority at this stage.  

Once the changes to the curriculum are made official, Impaq will deal with the sexual-related content and topics in an age-appropriate and sensitive manner. We respect the role and rights of parents to decide what is best for their children. Our approach will be to provide the facilitator with detailed content while still allowing them to determine the level of detail they deem appropriate to share with learners.

We want to assure parents and educators that we will always strive to implement curriculum changes around sensitive issues with care and circumspection.

By Rita Niemann and Willemien von Solms

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  • Shinjini | Modern Gypsy November 15, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    While sex education is very important, I do believe teaching topics in an age appropriate manner is even more important. Explicit content at a younger age could well end up being counter-productive.

  • Diane November 15, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Parents play such an important role in helping their children understand sexually-oriented material. They know what their child is mentally, and emotionally ready to hear and can increase the amount of information taught as the child is ready for it. While it may be uncomfortable for all involved, I think learning about it from a loved one in a home school setting would give way to a more open and honest discussion at the time the material is being taught, as well as in the future..

  • Leana Lourens November 16, 2019 at 5:35 am

    Hi there. My daughter is not in school yet so I’m not familiar with what they are teaching children nowadays but I’m not a fan of the fact that primary school children must ve taught about sex. If so it should be done in such a subtle way that it doesn’t impose any harm or risk towards the child’s sexuality and well-being

  • Shilpa Garg November 16, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    This is so wonderful to know that the facilitators at Impaq have detailed content and resources regarding sex education but only age appropriate topics are shared with the children and that too in a sensitive manner. Kudos to the team and more power to them.

  • Nicole Steyn November 16, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    I personally feel that 10 is a little bit young for sex education. I remember my school doing a sex education workshop with us at age 13, although I felt a bit young still, I think it’s a more appropriate age.

  • Rajlakshmi November 17, 2019 at 6:31 am

    I can understand how parents can be a little apprehensive about change in curriculum with respect to sex education. It needs to be taught both delicately and effectively as the kids are at an impressionable age.


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