This write up is developed on the document develop by Steps Towards Development to review the draft Education policy’09 and recommendation given by the audience in a dialogue organized on 15 October 2009 at WVA auditorium in Dhaka.
We all are well known that the present government has declared a draft education policy in a very short time and national professor Kabir Chowdhury led team finalized this draft report.
Government has declared that they are going to lay out total education system as per new education policy in a very shout time. Here I am appreciating to the government so that this is the first time the draft education policy has been launched in a web site and seeking recommendation from every corner to improve and finalize it in a democratic way.
Here at first I have to also recognize that, this time the education policy is far better framed and sensitive considering gender perspective than the last numbers. That’s why this policy is already hailed from different group and experts, even hailed in the mentioned programme. But experts are claiming that what have done is not enough to draft a new education policy sensitive from different perspective.
Gender is the one of the concern issues in our development arena. It is lauded several times that gender is a cross cutting issue and need to consider in every aspect of development. Education is such a sector which required huge attention in relation with gender because it could be a mainstreaming tool to ensure women human rights and gender equality. Experience says our present education policy; curriculum is far beyond from the expected level in consideration of gender concept. As if the present education system is just for enhancing existing disparity between men and women in the present stereotype thinking, at least to extend it. The essays, poems, different write ups and examples which are written and printed in the textbooks tell us these experiences. The teaching methods in the class room are not far beyond from these experiences. At the same times teachers are not sensitive in their conduction towards students and during the delivery of lessons. Sometimes all of these are very derogatory towards girls and women; hinder to create any opportunity to change towards to the expected society where a congenial environment will be prevailed for everybody of the society regardless sex, color, creed and ethnicity.
So it is very important to sketch the education policy in a gender sensitive way and experts are highlighted on the following issues in this regard.
- It should be mentioned clearly and specifically in the goal and objectives of the education policy how it will contribute to reduce gender gaps prevail in our existing society.
- In the draft education policy there is a separate paragraph on ‘Women Education’. It creates a huge controversy among the experts whether it will help or scatter them form the mainstreaming education. They say, it would be a good resolve through incorporation the head ‘The strategies for reducing gender discrimination in education’ instead.
- It is proposed in the draft policy that gender studies and reproductive health will be incorporated in the secondary level education for girls. Experts claim that this is not a right approach. Why only girls will aware about reproductive health and rights why not boys? It is now well accepted that gender studies and reproductive health and rights studies is important for all students. If all are not receiving gender and reproductive health studies mutual understanding, trust building and mutual reliance will not be developed among them.
- In the chapter 16 it is said that ‘Create confidence of girls to prevent dowry and violence against women’. That has been mentioned in this point is very much true but girls or women are not only belongs within the society. If cooperation is not given by boys or males then how it would be possible to prevent dowry and violence against women. These responsibilities for all of us to perform to create enabling environment for removing all type of mal practices and concerning violation of rights exist in the society.
- It is important to mention in the education policy how the policy will ensure gender sensitivity in curriculum and materials as well as ensure harassment free environment in the educational institutions along with gender sensitive physical facilities.
- In the chapter of goal and objectives of draft policy a line is cited about remove social-economical class discrimination regardless of races, religions and ethnicities. In this chapter it also need to be incorporated a line about ‘to create free and fearless environment for girls for rising up.
- In the 2nd chapter on goal and objectives of pre-primary education there should be incorporate a line on ‘create attitude about there is no difference between boys and girls’.
- In the strategy of pre-primary education the materials which would be used in classes i.e. picture, education materials, rime, models, songs etc. It is needed to be cited with this that whether it would not be derogatory towards anybody.
- In the 3rd paragraph of goal and objectives of primary education it should be incorporated few words for giving importance life education and achieving gender equality with the others.
- In the 2nd chapter it is cited that developed education materials would be easy, attractive and flaw less. Here need to be cited that it would be also gender sensitive.
- In the article number 15 of chapter no. 2 the draft policy is included something about prevention of dropout. No doubt this is important but students e.g. boys and girls are not dropped out in the same way or reason. So it should be included something to consider the multidimensional perspectives to resolve for dropouts of girls and boys.
- In the article number 25 of chapter no. 2 disability issue has been gotten importance but gender perspective has not been considered in this regard. As disability issues are not same for girls and boys. Girls are more susceptible in this regard. So it should be considered respectively.
- Women participation in the decision making body of the educational institute need to include in more specific way in the educational policy.
- In the teacher recruitment the draft policy mentioned that women will be getting priority in lower level classes. This item demands more explanation because it will create more confusion. Is this only for that women are not capable to teach in the upper classes. If so that will create another discrimination. If women are cable why not initiatives will be taken for bring equality in number of teacher in the secondary and tertiary level education.
- Initiated need to be taken in the education policy for incorporating of current burning gender issues i.e. gender equality, human rights, early marriage, domestic violence, dowry etc in the adult and information education’s curriculum.
- In the 4th chapter teaching of some subjects has been made mandatory. Here the recommendation is that gender studies and reproductive health and rights issues should have been included in it.
- In the chapter of 19th, scope for girls in the sports education and physical exercise in schools should mention clearly. As in Bangladesh girls are not getting opportunity in physical exercise as well as sports.
- Till now girls are less enthusiastic in science education. Probably it is for the mine set of guardians. The education policy should find out the way to encourage girls to be interested in Science, Agriculture, Information technology education etc.
- Need to deicide in principle about some encouraging measures for more participation of women in tertiary education in the educational policy.
- Need to consider how gender studies will be considered in Madrasha education.
- In the education policy it should be included some things about ways and means to portrayed national life and history in a very gender sensitive ways.
- Need to include mechanism in the education policy to facilitate transgender in education.
Author: Programme Officer, Steps Towards Development, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected]