Gender sensitization should start in schools
By The New Indian Express | Published: 03rd January 2013 11:13 PM |
As a sequel to the government’s moves to stiffen the penal provisions for rape and probe the lapses which led to the ghastly crime on December 16 evening in Delhi, the University Grants Commission has called upon the vice-chancellors of the country’s 568 universities and directors of the institutes of higher education to make the campuses safe for women. While the initiative is welcome, there is a need to ensure that it does not remain only a paper exercise where an advice is issued for form’s sake and little is done for its implementation on the ground.
Such a caution is necessary because the gang rape of the 23-year-old paramedical student would not have taken place if similar instructions to reduce the incidents of crime like disallowing vehicles with tinted glasses to ply had been followed by the police on the fateful night. In view of such grievous lapses, which are due to the habit of the authorities to issue orders — usually after a dreadful incident had taken place — and then forget about it, there is a need for follow-up measures on the basis of the UGC’s directive.
The proposal for curricular inputs towards gender sensitization may be more effective because they will have an academic content. Given the increasing number of women who spend long hours in educational institutions and the professional field, interaction between boys and girls can no longer be left to evolve on its own in the absence of adequate counselling, especially for those who are from a background where friendship with the opposite sex is frowned upon. For inculcating responsible conduct, the gender sensitisation process should start in schools since most of them are co-educational institutes nowadays. The educational system has to play a cardinal role in eliminating the patriarchal norms. Bring up children who believe in gender equality and moral traditions.