NCERTs New Training Manual Aims To Sensitise Teachers About LGBTQIA+ And Gender Identity

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NCERT's New Training Manual Aims To Sensitise Teachers About LGBTQIA+ And Gender Identity

The new material will give information to teachers about topics like gender identity, gender incongruence, homosexuality, gender variance, asexuality, bisexuality and many others.

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) released a new training manual, with an aim to sensitise teachers about LGBTQIA+ and gender identity issues. This is done to address the issue of gender disparity in education, not just in the textbook but in the classroom environment as well. The project was spearheaded by Dr Poonam Agarwal, the Professor and former head of NCERT's Department of Gender Studies

Explains A Myriad Of Topics

Titled 'Inclusion of Transgender Children in School Education: Concerns and Roadmap', it explains various concepts that come under the ambit of LGBTQIA+ and different kinds of gender identity that exist in the world.

Some of them are gender incongruence, gender conformity, gender fluidity, gender variance, homosexuality, heterosexuality, asexuality, bisexuality, and several others. "The inclusion of all children is the part of our mandate as an institution, so we decided to prepare training material that would sensitise teachers and teacher educators about the lived experiences, achievements, struggles and aspirations of transgender and gender-nonconforming children," Agarwal told Firstpost.

Along with this, a section in the training material consists of notable transgender personalities and their stories. It is called Success Stories of Transgender Persons to Serve as Role Models' featuring Narthaki Nataraj, Aryan Pasha, Padmini Prakash, Grace Banu, Santa Khurai, Manobi Bandyopadhyay, Dr Aqsa Shaikh, Siddhant More and Vihaan Pithambar.

The training material also gives strategies for making schools more inclusive, such as including gender-neutral toilets and uniforms, the need for sensitising non-teaching staff, raising awareness about these issues, and many more.

Extensive Groundwork

This project involved doing extensive groundwork and getting lots of inputs from experts in the Gender Studies field. Starting from our textbooks, the information disseminated from them is not inclusive in nature. One of the members who helped in preparing the material was Dr L Ramakrishnan, Vice President of Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection In India (SAATHI).

He added, "Holistic initiatives to prevent violence faced by transgender and gender non-conforming children must take into account the harassment they experience at school. When teachers are proactive in affirming their existence and supporting their contributions, dropout rates will decline. The children will be able to enjoy their childhood, complete their education and find employment.

Ramakrishnan's colleague, Biswa Bhusan Pattanayak, was also a part of this research work. His inferences came from his 2017 research where he looked into languages in textbooks from Classes VIII to XII in English, Gujarati, Tamil and Malayalam.

"It is crucial to take note of the visuals in addition to the text as they can have a significant impact on the minds of the students. It was common to see school textbooks depicting women doing household chores, and men engaging in outdoor activities. There was hardly any scope for non-normative gender expression," Pattanayak said.

Overall, this is a step in the right direction. It is high time our education system becomes more inclusive and does not alienate transgender and gender non-conforming teachers by our heteronormative and binary mode of learning.

Also Read: AAP Announces Launch Of LGBTQ Cell In Pune To Address Issues Faced By Community Members

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Writer : Akanksha Saxena
Editor : Ankita Singh
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