The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all universities, colleges, and higher education institutes to add more content on “leadership, sacrifices and remarkable role played by women in all walks of life” as part of their gender sensitization courses. The UGC in an official notice said that learning about women in roles of power will “create a feeling of respect for women and help in addressing the negative mindset, stereotypes that exist in the society”.
The UGC has also asked higher education institutes to organize online lectures and webinars on women safety “to make the general public aware of the dignity and respect of women”. These suggestions are the result of observations of the 230th department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on “atrocities on crimes against women and children”.
While the report suggests several initiatives for the Ministry of Home affairs including an investigation tracking system for sexual offenses, the national database of sexual offenders, adjournment alert module among others, it also drafted pathway for the Ministry of Education. “The Committee further recommends that it should be mandatory in all educational institutions to teach ‘Social Media Regulations’ covering aspects on all social and legal requirements so as to ensure increased awareness and compliance. Institutions must also formulate penalties and actions corresponding to the violation of the guidelines,” the committee suggested.
At the school level, it noted that training material for teacher educators on gender equality and empowerment in three volumes has been developed by the NCERT. It noted that NCERT will make all textbooks gender-inclusive in their content, portrayal, and visual depiction. Now, National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 will provide directions for new National Curriculum Frameworks, new syllabus, and textbooks creating more space for gender issues in education.