For SA Challenges DBE’s Denial Of Transgender Ideology In ECE Toolkit

Michael Swain, the Executive Director of Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA), criticised the Department of Basic Education (DBE) for its response to concerns raised by parents and faith communities in South Africa. The DBE’s statement on April 8, 2024, regarding the “ECE Toolkit” failed to address these concerns adequately.

Swain highlighted discrepancies between the DBE’s claims and the content of the toolkit itself. Despite the DBE’s assertion that the toolkit does not promote any specific ideology, Swain pointed out sections that suggest otherwise. For instance, the toolkit acknowledges a spectrum of sex and gender identities, encourages teachers to ask young learners for their preferred names and pronouns, and advocates for access to gender-appropriate facilities.

One of FOR SA’s main grievances is the lack of meaningful consultation with parents before implementing this teaching initiative. Swain argued that parents have primary responsibility for their children’s education, as outlined in the Department’s own White Paper on Education Policy. By neglecting to involve parents in the decision-making process, their rights have been disregarded.

Swain also expressed concern about the potential impact of the toolkit on children and families. He argued that promoting the idea of breaking free from gender stereotypes could lead to confusion and division within families, contradicting the supposed goal of promoting child welfare.

While the DBE claims that the ECE Toolkit is part of their strategy to address Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF), FOR SA disputes the effectiveness of teaching transgender ideology in combating these issues. They argue that there is no scientific basis for this approach and warn against undermining the status of women, who are often the primary victims of gender discrimination and violence.

Despite the DBE’s denial that the initiative is influenced by Western agendas, Swain highlighted the involvement of external organizations in its development. The ECE Toolkit was created following a substantial grant from VVOB, a Belgian-based organisation, raising questions about its origins and objectives.

Sign the petition on DearSA:

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has covertly introduced the “ECE Toolkit”, a gender ideology and gender identity training programme for primary and pre-primary teachers, and by extension, for primary and pre-primary school children.

About Author