Today a question was put forward while allotting classroom and hostel room arrangements for our blind children in my school. It is a simple question, but with depth meaning.
“Why hostel rooms should be labeled as boy’s room & girl’s room and why there should be separate seating arrangements for boys and girls in the classroom? Is that a strong sign of gender discrimination?”
I would like to share my views with all my world pulse members, which I shared with my fellow colleagues.
In Indian school setup, boys and girls are allowed to seat separate rows in the classroom, not together. Why can’t they sit together in the classroom? This kind of setup starts when the children are enrolled in their kindergarten classes itself. Gender discrimination is an important issue that I face right from my childhood in Indian scenario of classroom setup.
According to me “Gender identity is one’s personal experience of one’s own gender”. The children are discriminated at the early stage itself in primary classrooms, as boys group and girls group, where they don’t know what gender is? Is that fair when boys and girls are separated, when they don’t even know nor have a stable sense on what gender identity is?
I have experienced situations like, my teacher saying “boys and girls form a separate group, boys don’t talk with girls, boys and girls submit your records separately, girls have secured high marks compared to boys, boys and girls go in a separate line, teachers reading all the boys name first and girls name at the last during attendance period”, girls are appreciated for the neatness& orderliness of their work or their appearance and look, boys receiving attributes depending on attempt and aptitude and so on.
Yes, now gone are those discrimination days… I would like to sow the seed of gender equality in my blind school in the present scenario, which is going to be a milestone in our education system.
Gender is just a social construct, so am going to make sure of these social norms are left out of the classroom doors and children have the full right to participate equally and learn from nature and play way method.
The kids will be addressed as children or students rather than to be called as boys and girls. I think this is the best way to avoid gender bias in classroom.
According to me the classroom should be more inclusive for the children and thus we can make sure that boys and girls (children) get the same attention and opportunities to involve themselves in the classroom.