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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

New booklet seeks to sensitise students on gender issues

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 04, 2013
First Published: 10:58 IST(4/10/2013) | Last Updated: 14:09 IST(4/10/2013)

With gender sensitivity in schools being discussed the world over, the Delhi government and the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) have come out with a value education kit that includes age appropriate activity cards for students.

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The text has been prepared by SCERT and the Delhi government in association with NGOs and teachers, The gender sensitivity booklet aims to tackle issues of gender stereotyping and violence head on.

The kit consists of 18 activity cards meant for students of Class 1 to 12. A card for primary students talks about the freedom to choose careers and appearances.

The booklet asks students if nurses and farmers can be either women or men and if short hair is meant only for men.

The booklet for students in secondary classes (6 to 10) discusses gender-based violence and human rights.

They also aim to change stereotypes portraying women as bad drivers and fit only to be homemakers. An exercise asks students to differentiate between activities dictated by gender and those dictated by society.

For example, the booklet for students of classes 8 to 10 asks them if a women’s ability to give birth is a sexual or a gender difference.

The same booklet also asks them to categorize the statement that boys are athletic while girls like to stay home under sex or gender.

The booklet was prepared by 52 teams and was released by Delhi education minister Kiran Walia on Thursday.

“The impact of globalisation and technological advancement has been such that our child is lost. Values are declining every day and I hope that this kit will inculcate values among children,” Walia said.

In an effort to sensitize children, the booklets tend to perpetuate some stereotypes; the most common being that of portraying women as conscientious and responsible and boys as rowdy and playful.

“These booklets are a laudable initiative to sensitize children and have come through after various discussions. Some activities could perpetuate stereotypes, but we have to remember that they are placed in a certain context that the students see around them. Most of the students who opt for science in class 11 are still boys. We need to use these booklets and then interpret the material according to our experience,” said Ameeta Wattal, principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road, who was part of the material production group.


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