No compromise on gender justice: Sivankutty

Says curriculum revision will adhere to principles of Constitution

September 28, 2022 01:45 am | Updated 01:45 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala General Education Minister V. Sivankutty.

Kerala General Education Minister V. Sivankutty. | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

There will be no compromise on gender justice in the education sector, Minister for General Education V. Sivankutty has said.

He was speaking after inaugurating a three-day national consultative workshop on gender justice ‘Towards a gender audit framework for school education’ organised by the State Council of Educational Research and Training here on Tuesday.

The Minister said the school curriculum revision would adhere to basic principles of the Constitution. Article 14 talked about all types of equality. And yet there was propaganda by a section of people that sharing of bench by boys and girls could lead to trouble. “There is a deliberate bid to create confusion on every issue,” he said.

Right after the second Khader committee report was submitted to the Chief Minister, and only some parts it were available in the public opinion, there were protests against it. The report has not been understood by the protesters, Mr. Sivankutty said.

Similarly, an opinion that there was nothing wrong in sharing of bench by boys and girls also led to protests. “Our society is still not mature enough; it is still influenced by considerations of caste and religions,” he opined.

The Minister said it was against the backdrop of Article 14 that gender justice in education became important. “We can progress only by considering all genders. There should be serious discussions on this in society.”

Article 15 forbade discrimination based on religion, caste, sex, and so one. This should be reflected in the textbooks, he said.

The State had addressed first generation challenges of education, but there were second generation challenges it faced. “Our aim is ensuring equity-based quality education.”

Anita Rampal, member of the curriculum committee, who delivered the keynote address said they would not be looking at textbooks and curricula alone but also other related aspects such as teacher education and so on. Gender, she pointed out, was socially constructed. Society gave importance to certain tasks, behaviours, and positions based on it. Sometimes it was so normalised that one did not even realise it was operating. Deconstructing that would be part of the workshop.

Director of General Education Jeevan Babu K. said the State was going in for gender audit of all textbooks from class 1 to 12. However, it would not stop with the audit of textbooks. “The entire education system should be gender audited to ensure that the ideas of gender equality and gender justice are part of the school eduction system.”

Planning Board member Mini Sukumaran and SCERT Director Jayaprakash R.K. spoke.

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