On February 21, 2023, a Facebook page called Kalebalika , posted a picture of a purported Comprehemsive Sexuality Education textbook for Grade 5 with a caption “Graphic, highly sexual content being taught to your children under Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)”. Similar posts were shared widely by other online social media outlets, individual Facebook pages and WhatsApp networks. The posts attracted a backlash from members of the public who observed that the content of the book in the picture was not suitable for learners and was against the moral culture of the country.
iVerify Zambia has determined as misleading the pictures and statement by Kalbalika Facebook page and other social media platforms, alleging that Zambian schools were providing sexuality education that exposed learners to highly graphical sexual content.
iVerify Zambia contacted the Ministry of Education to ascertain the authenticity of the claims and pictures on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) circulating on social media. The Ministry, through a statement by the Minister of Education, Mr. Douglas Syakalima, clarified that the purported copy of a CSE book circulating on social media was NOT developed by the Ministry, and NOT in use in Zambian schools. The Minister, who confirmed existence of a Comprehensive Sexuality Education Framework said the post, believed to have originated from a neighbouring country, was first widely circulated in Zambia in 2021.
The statement further revealed that although the book cover in circulation is correct, the accompanying page is NOT from any of the Zambian school books, stating that the page was photo-shopped.
The Minister explained that the revised school curriculum of 2014 included information to help adolescents cope with numerous challenges as they transition from childhood, and this information on various topics from Grade 5-12 was included in the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) Framework. However, following concerns from members of society towards the end of 2020, the government embarked on a process to revise the CSE framework, with the name changing to Life Skills and Heath Education Framework, and yet to be validated by stakeholders.
The Minister expressed deep concerns about the misleading and alarmist information on CSE which he said was “a clear misrepresentation on what is contained in the Zambian CSE curriculum framework”.
Therefore, iVerify Zambia finds the post by Kalebalika Facebook page on CSE in Zambia to be misleading.