An effort towards changing mindsets

Positive Move

An effort towards changing mindsets

A forward on the cellphones has begun doing the rounds post the horrific case of the gang-rape that took place on Sunday, 16 December. Beside a lot else, it also mentions: “Behind every rapist... is a father who mis-treated his wife/a mother who meekly followed her husband’s whims/a sister who kept quiet when her brother harassed other girls/ a friend who thought it is cool to tease a girl, to stalk her and then seek pleasure forcibly (read rape).

Behind every rapist is a grandmother who gets depressed on seeing a new born girl in her family/ are in-laws who hararss their daughter-in-laws/ is the education system which offers no courses in gender sensitisation... is a society which overrates sex and takes pride in depicting women as sexual objects.”

Finally, the news seems to have sunk in. At last someone has realised the urgent need to rectify the system at the root level. It may not be enough but it is a beginning. Taking a step in the same direction is the Union Minister of Women Welfare and Child Development Krishna Tirath who has decided to launch a new scheme for government schools aimed at building character of adolescent boys and changing their mindsets towards women.

However, many private schools are already on the ball - having initiated a move towards sensitisation.

“We have been working on gender sensitivity for several years. Through various activities, frequent counselling sessions and training teachers, we are trying to create a healthy atmosphere where both boys and girls are made to respect each other,” says Amita Vattal, principle Springdales School, who considers this a holistic approach and involves parents in the endeavour.

“During counseling sessions we come across many children who report verbal and physical abuse between parents. It undoubtedly emotionally damages the kids and leaves scars on their minds.  At that point we have to consult parents and act like marriage counsellors to make them realise the importance of gender sensitivity and its effect on wards,” says Vattal.

Going by the views of LV Sehgal, principal Bal Bharti Public School, Old Rajender Nagar, implementing the scheme is a tough challenge in government schools where teacher-student ratio continues to be imbalanced. “A single teacher looks after a class of 70. It is impossible to have a sense of confidence between the two, which plays a great role in sensitisation.”

Laying emphasis on quality education, he says, “There is a difference in being literate and educated. Ironically, government is still struggling to provide good schools and quality education. Therefore, before beginning this scheme the authorities have to overcome basic problems in almost all government schools.”

Ready to lend support to the government towards making young children gender-sensitive, AS Sharma, principal APJ School says, “We are conducting counselling in our schools, talking to children openly about the issue and trying to make them understand the importance of the same. We could extend the same help in government schools too.”
Is anybody listening?

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