By Safiyia Stanfley, MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education:
The Democratic Alliance urges parents and school governing bodies to submit their comments on the Draft National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB before 26 May 2015. The draft policy has provoked strong reactions from school communities, with many parents raising concerns on providing condoms to learners as young as 10.
We call on parents and school governing bodies to participate in the process of finalising the policy. Any concern or comment should be sent to the department of Basic Education, whether one supports the draft policy or rejects it.
It would be ideal if school governing bodies could convene an urgent meeting with parents of the school to assess how parents feel about the draft policy.
Parents naturally have strong opinions on their children’s education, especially when it relates to something as sensitive as sex.
The parent of a high school learner is likely to have a very different view on the draft policy than the parent of a primary school learner.
In many families, it is still taboo to talk about sex with young children. Some parents fear that a message can be sent to learners that it is acceptable to experiment, even when the children are legally considered too young to consent to sex.
Other parents have welcomed the draft policy as an attempt to curb teenage pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases among the youth. Not all families can afford contraceptives. In terms of the Children’s Act, it is also illegal to refuse contraceptives to a child older than 12 where such contraceptives are being distributed free of charge.
Comments can be submitted collectively by the school governing body to the department of Basic Education. All comments must be submitted by no later than 26 May 2015.
Written comments must be marked for the attention of Ms. A Dano, Acting Director: Health Promotion Director:
- By fax to 012 328 8401
- By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- By regular mail to the department of Basic Education, Private Bag
X895, Pretoria, 0001