The Zambian Ministry of Education has issued a statement regarding Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in response to concerns raised by stakeholders. The Ministry clarified that CSE is integrated into various subjects in the Zambian curriculum and is not a separate subject. A Multi-Ministerial Technical Committee was appointed to review the CSE Framework following concerns raised by stakeholders, and the revised framework has since been renamed the Life Skills and Health Education Framework. The Ministry emphasized that the books circulating on social media regarding CSE are not developed by the Ministry of Education, and are photo-shopped and a misrepresentation of the Zambian CSE curriculum framework. The Ministry remains open to further submissions and welcomes any opportunity to raise awareness on CSE with stakeholders in Zambia.
Below is the Full Statement.
PRESS STATEMENT ON COMPREHENSIVE SEXUALITY EDUCATION IN RELATION TO THE RECENT INFORMATION CIRCULATING ON SOCIAL MEDIA
BOOKS CIRCULATING ON SOCIAL MEDIA ARE NOT DEVELOPED BY THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION.
Government through the Ministry of Education implemented the Revised Curriculum in 2014 that included information to help adolescents cope with numerous challenges as they transition from childhood to adulthood. The information covering various topics from Grade 5-12 was put in a document called Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) Framework.
Unlike other countries, CSE in Zambia is integrated in carrier subjects such as Integrated Science, Home Economics, Social Studies, Religious Education and Civic Education.
However, towards the end of 2020, there had been concerns from some members of society on the content of CSE. In responding to the demands from stakeholders, Government appointed a Multi-Ministerial Technical Committee to review the CSE Framework. The review was preceded by consultative meetings which were conducted in all the ten (10) provinces of Zambia, with sittings in three (3) district per province totaling 30 districts, classified as rural, peri-urban and urban which were sampled in each province.
The concerns and suggestions were submitted by Traditional leaders, Religious leaders, parents, learners, head teachers, teachers, community leaders, Civil Society Organisations, Standards officers, line ministries, service providers and Ministry of Education officials.
Country men, ladies and gentlemen, the stakeholders did not entirely reject the teaching of Comprehensive Sexuality Education but made the following observations:
- Learners indicated that CSE was useful in their lives as it enabled them to make informed decisions and protect themselves from STIs and early pregnancies.
- Teachers were however, not comfortable with the title Comprehensive Sexuality Education.
- Parents and most Religious Leaders said that contraceptives should not be taught to school children but emphasis should be on abstinence. Most Traditional Leaders suggested to change Comprehensive Sexuality Education to another appropriate name.
- Stakeholders did not find any content that was promoting homosexuality in the textbooks produced by the Ministry of Education which are used from Grade 5 to 12.
The Technical Committee has since completed reviewing the CSE Framework by addressing the concerns raised by stakeholders. The name has since been changed to Life Skills and Health Education Framework. However, the revised Framework is yet to be validated. This is because, following the Presidential directive to reform curriculum, CSE is also under review since it is integrated in carrier subjects.
Fellow countrymen, ladies and gentlemen the recent posts on social media are meant to tarnish Government and the great strides that the Ministry of Education and other partners have attained in combating teenage pregnancies and STI infections.
The current posting circulating on social media was first circulated in Zambia in 2021 and has been forwarded many times. It actually originated from Tanzania.
As a Ministry, we undertook a survey into bookshops and checked through the titles of the books circulating on social media and our findings were that:
- The books circulating on social media are NOT developed by Ministry of Education. The cover is correct but that page circulating is not from any of the Zambian books. These are photo-shoped, even the pagination is different.
The Ministry remains open to any further submissions and welcomes any opportunity to further raise awareness on CSE with stakeholders in Zambia including parents, traditional leaders, and religious bodies. We, at the same time, are deeply concerned about misleading and alarmist information (both internal and through social media) on the content that is a clear misrepresentation of what is contained in the Zambian CSE curriculum framework.
I THANK YOU
Issued by: Douglas Syakalima
Minister of Education
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION