Home PodcastInayet Wadee ‘ECE toolkit’ threatens diversity in SA schools, concerned groups argue

‘ECE toolkit’ threatens diversity in SA schools, concerned groups argue

by Zahid Jadwat

Concerned groups have sounded the alarm over the education department’s ECE toolkit. They say the teacher training programme aims to introduce transgender ideology in South African schools, without consulting parents.


According to Michael Swain, of director of For SA, the department of basic education has been “pushing” transgender ideology onto pre-primary and primary school learners. 


They are being taught a man can be a woman and vice versa, he charged.


This was being facilitated by ‘Social Cohesion and Equity in Education’, a covert unit within the department that bypassed public consultation.


“They’ve done so supposedly to resolve the issue of gender based violence and bullying, but this is a completely unrelated training because what it effectively does is it takes transgenderism … and now pushing that ideology effectively into the pre-primary and primary school learning ages,” he asserted.


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Threat to diversity

Ironically, the work of the directorate is being labelled a threat to diversity. Moulana Owais Dockrat, from the LGBTQ steering committee of the United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA), said the ECE toolkit completely disregarded traditional views on sexuality.


“This is a one-sided ideological stance that is pushed within the ECE toolkit. This is in reality undermining the diversity of beliefs in South Africa by promoting a particular view on gender and sexuality,” he said.


Dockrat said it was an insult to the beliefs of the majority of South Africans: “It disregards the cultural, spiritual and religious norms of the majority of South Africans and the beliefs that they hold.”


Financed by a R40 million grant from a Belgian-based organisation, VVOB, Gender-Responsive Pedagogy for Early Childhood Education (GRP4ECE), more commonly referred to as the ‘ECE toolkit, trains educators to encourage children to explore gender identities.


“Little children have absolutely no possible way of being able to process this information. Many parents wouldn’t even want their children to be taught about things like gender, sex and sexuality at such a young and impressionable age,” argued Swain.


The ECE toolkit was first piloted in Kwa-Zulu Natal in 2019, before being rolled out in four other provinces. It goes against the mandate of the education department, he said.


“You will confuse them deeply, and who knows what the impact of that could be. One thing’s for sure: that type of teaching could not be in the best interest of the child, which is supposedly the overarching consideration that the DBE should be looking at.”

Fundamentally, said Dockrat, “the ECE toolkit undermines the constitutional parental rights of parents to raise their children according to their cultural and religious beliefs”.

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