The Basic Education Department has slammed media reports that Grade 4 will learn about masturbation in a new curriculum.

The new life orientation textbooks will be rolled out next year.

The Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlangu says a sex education curriculum may be introduced in the future for learners starting from Grade 7 upwards.

He was speaking after a weekend newspaper reported that Grade Four pupils would learn about masturbation when the new Life Orientation textbooks were rolled out next year.

The department has since dismissed the article as misleading and a complete misrepresentation. Mhlangu, however, says that the curriculum touches on issues related to sexuality.

“We are conscious of the material that we expose our learners to. Sexuality education is there and what we have in Grade Four is what is informed by UNESCO based on research in terms of what children of a particular age should be learning at a particular time, particularly in schooling material. So we are guided by that content and by the recommendations and guidelines. And we cannot shy away from teaching our learners about issues regarding sex and sexuality,” says Mhlangu.