Coming in the backdrop of Women's Day celebrations, the 'Human Rights and Gender Studies' course is a well thought out initiative by CBSE.
Sadhna Parashar, central board's training and academics director, wrote to principals saying that Std XI is that time in life for students when they are made to start reflecting over their future life and decide of a career. "Teaching gender also involves the potentials and the problems of gender being a universal individual experience, personal or social in the institutional setting and focuses on gender mainstreaming in the light of human rights," said Parashar.
Mrunalini Dasture, principal of South Point School, said, "Boys should be taught about 'why' to respect girls. Because without the female of the species, there won't be life on earth, hence respecting them is of utmost importance. I believe courses like these are needed and students should follow them seriously."
Reena Dargan, principal of Ira International School, said, "In today's world I have seen senior academicians who believe women should be limited to household work. However, society also wants women to work for an extra income, but does not promote independent thinking. Till men start accepting that women are equal partners in life it will be difficult, and currently there is a misbalance in attitudes."
Urvashi Yashroy, director of Tuli Group of Educational Institute, feels the course won't be able to do much for the gender sensitivity. "These things have to be imbibed in kids from a very early age at home itself. Even if it has to be at school, then these things can be included as part of moral science, so that boys and girls start treating each other with respect," said Yashroy.
Dargan, said, "It is the need of the hour. This course needs to be planned and implemented well to have any impact."
CBSE's Parashar writes that this course is intended to make students aware of the ways in which gender is taken for granted. She adds that it is also about how "gender is learnt, the implications of gender for our lives, and prospects for change insofar as men and women are able to combine and/or reject elements of traditional masculinity and femininity".