#SUNDAYTIMES: Flavoured lubricants and condoms, dildos, a penis made of play dough and even small vibrators have made their way into the classes of some top schools – all props for sex education workshops.
Two of the country’s top private schools, Michaelhouse and Kearsney College in KwaZulu-Natal, are among the schools that have been using sex education provider Sexy Smarts to conduct workshops for their senior pupils on comprehensive sexual and relationship education for years.
A few former Model C schools, including Pretoria High School for Girls and Parktown High School for Girls in Johannesburg, have also used the Pretoria-based organisation, which was founded by Ruth Loubser, a nursing sister.
Tim Jarvis, senior master for pastoral care at Michaelhouse, said pupils showed increased knowledge as a result of the workshops and also displayed better awareness.
He confirmed that Sexy Smarts would be holding a workshop for all grade 9 boys next month.
Kearsney College did not respond to e-mailed questions.
The course content also includes discussions on relationship development, values clarification, dating, understanding sexual practices, touch and the setting of touch boundaries.
Loubser said her passion for comprehensive sexual and relationship education comes from a deep compassion for children’s holistic wellbeing.
“I want to create safe spaces for their questions to be heard and answered honestly and accurately.”
She said visual aids were useful to maintain pupils’ attention.
“But we emphasise that access to these [such as vibrators] is limited to those over 18 years of age.”
Loubser’s team uses stuffed toys to demonstrate certain sexual positions.
Eugenia Russell, former head of life sciences at Pretoria High School for Girls, informed Sexy Smarts in a letter dated January last year that she found the programme for matrics “to be an incredible supplement to their syllabus on reproduction”.
Anthea Cereseto, Governing Body Foundation national CEO, which represents the governing bodies of 625 schools, said that hiring external providers to hold sex education workshops was a good idea as they were qualified to answer questions honestly.
She confirmed Loubser had provided sex education workshops to pupils at her former school, Parktown Girls, when she was headmistress.
“Just as maths teaching needs a qualified teacher, I think sex education needs a person who is qualified and an expert in teaching it well and at the appropriate level.”
She said parents were sent a letter informing them of the sex education workshop and had to either give their consent or not.
“As far as I can remember, I don’t think anybody didn’t consent.”
However, there have been mixed reactions to the practical demonstration and the showing of condoms, lubricants and vibrators to pupils.
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