To make its schools “inclusive”, the Delhi government has decided to introduce a curriculum to train its teachers in handling the concerns of transgender students “sensitively”. The curriculum will begin from the next academic session in April.
Hindustan Times had reported in October last year that the Delhi government was planning to formulate guidelines to make its 1,100 schools inclusive for transgender students. This is the first step in that direction, officials at the Delhi government’s directorate of education (DoE) said.
Sanjay Goel, the director of the DoE, said the curriculum will be designed by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) — an autonomous body that conducts training sessions and development programmes for school teachers in the city. “The first step to make school campuses inclusive for transgender students is to train the teachers in handling their issues sensitively. It’s ultimately the teachers who will deal with them first. So, we have decided to introduce a training curriculum to sensitise teachers,” he said.
The SCERT conducts short duration training sessions for the government school teachers in the city throughout the year. The curriculum on transgender sensitivity will also be incorporated in these training sessions. “We are going to rope in resource persons to train teachers in how to identify and handle the problems that transgender students face. The teachers should be well trained in handling all these issues and make students feel welcomed at the schools. Otherwise, it is not possible to encourage transgender students to attend regular schools,” Goel said.
Teachers working at Delhi government schools hailed the move. “It is very important to train teachers in issues as sensitive as this. Teachers leave an indelible impact on society. If teachers are trained, they can pass the knowledge and skills to their students, and it will eventually leave a greater impact on the society. The curriculum will help breaking the prevailing gender stereotypes,” said Manu Gulati, an English teacher at a government school in Punjabi Bagh.
Experts working in the field of education said the move will make students feel “safe” at schools. “It will make a significant impact if the government trains its teachers in handling such issues. We have come across several cases when transgender students were not supported by their teachers and they eventually dropped out of their schools. Such an initiative will make these students feel safe at their schools,” said Anjaan Joshi, founder of SPACE (Society for Peoples’ Awareness, Care and Empowerment), an NGO working for issues related to transgender people.