School curriculum does not promote homosexuality

Niël Terblanché

The current zealotry surrounding the issue of Same-sex marriages in Namibia has led to scathing attacks on the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture’s curriculum which provides learners with the basic knowledge of sexual reproductive health and rights.

Sanet Steenkamp, the Executive Director of the education ministry, in an effort to quell the rabid attacks on the current curriculum, clarified what is actually being taught in Namibian schools.

“The ministry has been inundated with questions related to the current topical issue of same-sex relationships in Namibia. These questions are linked to statements made mainly by representatives of faith-based organisations and citizenry alleging that the Namibian education curriculum teaches or promotes same-sex relationships in schools,” she said.

Steenkamp stated that the ministry does not have a curriculum in which learners are “taught to become homosexuals” as perceived by some segments of society.

“Part of the education curriculum consists of Life¬ Skills education, a non-promotional and non-examinable subject taught in Grades 4 to 12 in which learners are empowered with Life Skills, HIV/AIDS and Health Education,” she said.

According to Steenkamp, learners are provided with incremental, age-appropriate, culturally relevant and scientifically grounded sexuality education in the curriculum.

Learners are provided with the ministerial approved content knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour necessary to enable them to manage and combat socio-economic and cultural challenges affecting their sexual health, well-being and ability to make informed decisions,” she stated.

The education is provided with due regard and awareness of the principles of respect for all humankind, regardless of colour, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status and cultural differences with the purpose of promoting co-existence and tolerance among learners. In this curriculum, learners

“In contrast to all allegations, the ministry wishes to assure parents, guardians and the general public that the curriculum promotes the teaching of tolerant, non-judgmental, Sexual Reproductive Health and RightsEducation with the focus on how human beings acquire or contract sexually transmitted infections, preventions and how to access Health Care Services,” she said.

Steenkamp reiterated that the Namibian education curriculum is based on democracy, the rule of law and non-discriminatory principles, and overall respect for human rights as enshrined in the Namibian Constitution.

“Our teaching does not favour and neither does it discriminate against learners on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” she emphasized.

Steenkamp urged organizations, individuals and the citizenry to familiarize themselves with the finer details of the Namibian education curriculum and to refrain from making irresponsible, uninformed, confusing and misleading statements that may cause distrust in the country’s education system.

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