Dept warns of fake news

Johannesburg – Fake news about the comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) section of the life orientation curriculum is causing confusion and anxiety among parents, the Basic Education department said on Sunday.

  The department said it is concerned with the impact of false reporting by some media organisations on the debate around CSE.

  The department’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the department distances itself from images circulating on social media. “These images are not part of the books produced by the department. Members of the public have been contacting the department about videos with incorrect information that have also been distributed on social media. These social media posts have misled the public and created unnecessary anxiety and anger. Social media has been an integral part of the fake news campaign against the department regarding the issue of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education,” said Mhlanga.

  One of the “fake” images shows adults in bed with graphic details. Another piece of false information claimed the department would distribute condoms with stationery in 2020.

  The department accused a “lobby group” of creating misleading social media posts and feeding the public “contaminated information”.

  “The purpose of CSE is to address sexual abuse, HIV infections, learner pregnancy, and bullying and peer pressure and help learners stay in school until they complete grade 12,” said Mhlanga.

  There was no implementation of a “new curriculum” in 2020, said the department. “It is a pilot project across five provinces affecting 1 500 schools where consultation has taken place.”

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