BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha government has roped in Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia and Breakthrough, a global human rights organisation, to integrate a gender equity curriculum into the syllabus for students across government schools in the State. An MoU was inked in the presence of School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash on Monday.
The curriculum, designed by Breakthrough, uses interactive classroom discussions to encourage adolescents to reflect on culturally embedded gender norms, roles and discriminatory practices to transform their gender attitude and behaviour.
Breakthrough will work with the School and Mass Education department to contextualise and integrate the curriculum into the syllabus, train teachers and key departmental personnel, and conduct gender sensitisation workshops with teachers across 23,000 State-run schools. The curriculum will be integrated into the social syllabus for students of Class VI to X in over 18,000 elementary and 5,000 secondary schools in Odisha by the end of this month.
Principal Secretary of School and Mass Education department Bishnupada Sethi said the inclusion of gender dimension in the school curriculum will lead students to enact more gender-equitable behaviour.“Despite the gains and progress that India has made in gender equality, several issues continue to remain unaddressed. This intervention is expected to bring about positive changes in the way we look at gender issues and schools are the best place to start the conversations,” he said.
Breakthrough CEO Sohini Bhattacharya said, “We need to ensure that children of the 10 to 15 years age group have access to the right information related to gender equality, legal rights and healthy gender behaviour.” After the curriculum is introduced, J-PAL South Asia will conduct independent monitoring activities to ensure that the programme achieves its objectives and generate insights for sustained and proper implementation of the syllabus. Executive Director of J-PAL South Asia Shobhini Mukerji was present.