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Basic Education Dept defends teaching of sex ed to grade 4 pupils

According to the department, the new Life Orientation curriculum would be targeted at grade 4 to 12 pupils and would cover a variety of subjects ranging from healthy lifestyles to sex education.

Chalk and a blackboard duster in the refurbished Samson Senior Primary School in the Eastern Cape. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Basic Education Department said that Life Orientation was an important subject and must be enhanced at South Africa's schools.

The department has distanced itself from reports that it's new Life Orientation curriculum would teach grade 4 pupils about masturbation.

On Monday, the department reacted to a Sunday Times article which reported that children as young as 9-years-old would learn how to self stimulate for sexual pleasure when the new textbooks are rolled out next year.

It has caused a stir, with some parents questioning why their children would be exposed to such topics at school.

According to the department, the new curriculum would be targeted at grade 4 to 12 pupils and would cover a variety of subjects ranging from healthy life styles to sex education.

It said that grade 4 pupils would be taught in the most appropriate and sensitive way about how babies are conceived, amongst other topics.

Spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga: "It needs to be improved, it needs to be enhanced because we have to check if it is giving us what we're expecting if it was yielding the required result. We will monitor the outcomes on an ongoing basis."

LISTEN: Why schoolchildren will be taught about consent, masturbation & porn earlier

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