Odisha: Move To Integrate Gender Equity Curriculum In Schools

Bhubaneswar: To integrate a gender equity curriculum into the syllabus for students in schools being run by, the Odisha government has roped in Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia and Breakthrough, a global human rights organisation,

An MoU was signed for the purpose on Monday in the presence of School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash, official sources said on Tuesday.

Designed by Breakthrough, the curriculum uses interactive classroom discussions in order to encourage adolescent students to reflect on culturally embedded gender norms, roles and discriminatory practices to transform their gender attitude and behaviour.

As part of the whole exercise, 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 across the state by the end of this month, the sources said.

Principal Secretary, 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.”

Once 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 also present on the occasion.

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