a path breaking move, the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) has introduced a compulsory course ‘Gender Sensitisation’ for its B .Tech and B.Pharm students.
To be taught from this semester for Second Year students, the paper will carry three credit points and students have to score at least 40 per cent in both written and internal exam to pass.
In a run-up to introduction of the course, nearly 200 teachers of various affiliated colleges of JNTU-H attended a two-day workshop about the tough task at hand.
“We have been told not to stick to just English to teach the new course, as the native language is much more nuanced. The students we deal with are neither young nor old, they know a lot but the course aims to sensitise them about how to deal with the other gender,” said Lavanya Alaparty, who attended the workshop, representing MGIT.
Keeping the wider dimensions of equality in mind, the lessons raise the gender question in tandem with other axes of inequality in the modern world: class, caste, religious affiliation and region,” says Susie Tharu talking about the book.
The textbook is a starting point for debate and discussion, and it suggests bringing in documentaries, biographies and even movies into classroom to break gender stereotyping and towards greater sensitisation
“We are expected to inform the students about the changed laws where it is no longer ‘eve teasing’ but ‘sexual harassment’ and how the Nirbhaya Act makes it very simple for women to complain about harassment,” says another engineering college teacher. Interestingly, one of the lessons is called ‘Love and Acid do not mix’.
But will a subject like this, taught to undergraduate students, change perceptions for a more equal society? “Learning about gender actually begins very early — in the home itself.
Parents are the first teachers when it comes to gender equality…or inequality. A school culture where boys and girls mix as equals and learn to be friends will certainly go a long way in ensuring non-violent gender relations,” says Susie Tharu.
The lessons raise the gender question in tandem with other axes of inequality in the modern world: class, caste, religious affiliation and regionSusie J. Tharu,former EFLU professor