Sexuality Education in Life Skills

Comprehensive Sexuality Education was introduced in 2000 within the subjects of Life Orientation and Life Skills to ensure that learners do not get confusing and misleading messages on sex, sexuality, gender and relationships. CSE has thus been part of the South African Curriculum for almost 20 years. It provides scientifically accurate information, build positive values and attitudes which enables young people to safely navigate the transition to adulthood.

The core aim of CSE and the new structured lesson plans is to help learners build an understanding of concepts, content, values and attitudes around sexuality, sexual behaviour as well as leading safe and healthy lives. The Department of Basic Education has worked hard to develop a comprehensive curriculum that seeks to address real world challenges and issues faced by learners in their day-to- day lives. The global evidence base for CSE is significant and the Department of Basic Education’s rigorous review of the literature found that:

  • CSE is NOT Sex Education
  • CSE does not teach learners how to have sex
  • CSE does not sexualize children
  • CSE does not only focus on only the physical relationships between humans, nor does it teach behavior and values that encourage

A significant number of adolescents and youth, especially within the age group between 14 to 24, are losing their lives due to HI V/ A ID S and TB. Female learners are dropping out of school before completing their studies because of teenage pregnancy and a large number of female learners are victims of sexual gender-based.

The school subjects, Life Orientation (LO) and Life Skills (LS) for Primary School learners, is the best vehicle to present sexuality education.

Evidence has shown that CSE that is scientifically -accurate, age-appropriate and Culturally relevant, has the ability to;


  • Delay sexual debut among adolescents
  • Increases safe sexual practice by way of condom and overall contraceptive usage among sexually active adolescents
  • Increase knowledge about sexual behavior and its consequences
  • Reduce risky behavior amongst adolescents that are already sexually active or considering sexual debut
  • Reduce HIV and STI infections amongst learners and teachers and in so doing improve the retention of female students
  • Reduce gender-based violence
  • Ensure learners are aware of health and psychosocial services offered by DOH and DSD through the Integrated School Health Programme

In 2015 the DBE developed Scripted Lesson Plans (SLPs) which are currently being tested in five (5) provinces in order to strengthen the teaching of CSE in schools

SLPs are learner and teacher support materials (LTSMs) that are designed to aid teachers and learners to address these important topics in a systematic manner.

During teaching and learning time, educators are guided by scripted lessons plans (SLPs) that empower them to discuss topics that could otherwise be found to be uncomfortable. The SLP describes each activity, the materials needed for the activity as well as how to complete the activity, the duration of the activity, the information to be presented, and the points that should be emphasized.

SLPs are based on the work done by researchers, an international pa ne l of consultants and an advisory committee le d by the DBE in South Africa.

Five provinces with the highest HIV infections in the country ore currently participating in the testing of SLPs, namely, Free State, Gauteng, Kwa Zulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Western Cape.

After the testing phase the work will be expanded to all nine provinces in a Phased-in approach and ultimately will be used in all education districts in South Africa.

DBE has developed:

  • In 2015 the DBE developed Scrip ted Lesson Plans (SLPs) which are currently being tested in five (5) provinces in order to strengthen the teaching of CSE in schools.
  • Creating Educational Posters for leaners about AIDS.
  • Training materials for education officials.
  • Orientation materials for SGBs and parents.
  • Young Women and Girls (YW&G) Programme: A comprehensive package of services including health sessions, homework assistance, home visits, career guidance and peer education sessions.
  • Breaking the silence: A reality television show on Sexuality Education with a total of 13 episodes produced and reviewed for broadcast.
  • Determined Resilient Empowered AIDS-free Mentored Safe (DREAMS): A programme providing SLPs and linkages to Health and Social services in selected Primary and Secondary Schools in GP and KZN.
  • LET'S TALK Prevention of Early and Unintended Pregnancies (EUP) Campaign: A multi-media social behavior change campaign aimed at increasing efforts to address EUP among teenagers to realise the ESA Target on reducing teenage pregnancy by 75% in 2020.
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