Aspiring school and pre-school teachers will get a lesson in gender from the next academic year. Gender studies has been introduced in the curriculum for Bachelors of Education (BEd) and Diploma in Education (DEd) that has been recently modified by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).
The NCTE has decided to make gender an integral part of the curriculum, among other changes. This will be done by including courses on gender in the context of school education and society in the theory courses for bachelors and diploma programmes.
The need for including gender studies in teacher education programmes was felt in the wake of the rising crimes against women. “The recent crimes against women have brought to light the need to teach gender equality to children from a young age,” said Reeta Sonawat, head of department of human development, SNDT Women’s University, Juhu.
Gender studies is usually a popular course among students of humanities and journalism, but was so far not part of any teacher education programmes.
Academicians said that exposing aspiring teachers to the subject will help them in overcoming gender stereotypes, appreciating gender differences and teaching students to respect women. “It will especially help teachers in changing the mindset of conservative male students,” said Giselle D’Souza , associate professor, St Teresa’s Institute of Education, Santacruz. “The term ‘gender’ should be used to refer to the social and cultural constructions of masculinities and femininities.”
The new curriculum will also make include topics on yoga, information and communication technology and inclusive education. Some academicians said that this could lead to a ‘jack of all but master of none’ situation among aspiring teachers.
“It is a great idea to teach gender and other topics to aspiring teachers, but this will increase the portion unnecessarily,” said Arundhati Chavan, principal of Swayyam Siddhi College of Education, Kalyan. “Even if the duration of the courses is increased by two years, teachers will not have enough time to study all the topics in depth.”
(Inputs by Sonal Singh)