Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 07 March 2024

How inclusive pedagogies can end gender oppression

Relevance: GS Paper I & II

Why in News?

The editorial urges innovative teaching methods and policies to address gender inequalities and establish inclusive learning environments.

NEP 2020 and Gender Inclusivity:

  • NEP's emphasis on "education as the single greatest tool for achieving social justice and equality" is deemed fit to offer an educational praxis for the Indian education scenario that can liberate learners from gendered oppression, garnering a positive change in Indian society.
  • It also provides for setting up a Gender Inclusion Fund (GIF), especially for girls and transgender students, and recommends that Samagra Shiksha integrate and universalize access to education in all states and UTs.
  • It recognises the gender-inclusive contributions in the Indian education sector. While it raises the issue of marginalisation based on class, caste, religion, and gender, NEP does not look through the gender paradigms of ‘cis’ and ‘trans’ scientifically.
    • Therefore, it does not address the nuances of class-based gendered violence, caste-based gendered offences and the arbitrary role of religion in socio-sexual stratification.
  • The most critical task in ensuring equity and inclusion at all levels of education is to make the learner an independent thinker.

Role of Educators:

  • Educators play a crucial role in imparting quality and value education, fostering qualitative change through teaching and learning.
    • They bring about valuable pedagogical and curriculum changes, promoting equity and helping students overcome cultural barriers.
  • Many Indian learners belong to diverse social, economic, cultural, and gender groups who bring with them a variety of cultural practices, knowledge systems, and perceptions; an understanding of manifold identity becomes critical for the educator.
    • Innovative pedagogies can enhance the active participatory teaching-learning process.

Peer teaching as a pedagogical strategy:

  • Peer teaching is becoming increasingly popular in Indian education, as it effectively addresses conflicts arising out of class, caste, religion, region, community, and gender-specific indexes present in the social hinterland of India, where learners inhabit.
    • Learners encountering gendered situations and experiences of conflict would call for a revised moral assessment and action.
    • Therefore, peer teaching can potentially erase gendered conflict from knowledge.
  • It can endorse a syncretic discourse to ‘illegitimate’ particular patriarchal visions and chauvinistic claims of society.
  • However, peer teaching requires educators, academicians, and learners to "unlearn" their preconceived notions of gender norms, traditional values, and patriarchal ideals.
  • Indian classrooms reflect Paolo Freire’s ‘banking model’, i.e., the teacher is more knowledgeable than the students and, therefore, possesses authority; therefore, the teacher ‘deposits’ facts into the students’ minds, who are to memorise and recall them.
    • The teacher is superior to the rest and thus determines what is good or correct.
    • Therefore, even in such a classroom, peer teaching can issue communique but does not ensure ‘inquiry’ about learning.

Way forward:

Problem-posing model:

  • This technique, as enunciated in Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, is, hitherto, underused in the Indian education context.
    • It restores a more equal relationship between the educator and the students, as everyone simultaneously fills the roles of the teacher and the student. 
    • These ‘teacher-students’ and ‘student-teachers’ decide on important topical points to discuss together.
  • The teacher becomes a facilitator. The educator becomes an instructor. The topical points are presented as ‘problems’ to the whole class. The ‘problems’ are the issues raised to be solved together without any ‘correctness’ prejudice of authoritative ‘ranking’.
  • The classroom becomes a real democratic space where everyone has a voice of equal value.
    • Hence, the educator and the students are all intellectually engaged and contribute to the ‘knowledge’.
  • The use of such teaching techniques for adult learners in higher education will be apt, as it can transform the classroom academic discourses into a method of gender liberation, deterring gender polarisation from becoming a tool of oppression and patriarchal dominance.

Feminist pedagogy model:

  • Althea Spencer Miller proposes that community struggles and issues considered controversial and urgent by society can become opportunities for the practice of critical feminist pedagogy.
    • Educators can adopt feminist pedagogy to dismantle gender dysphoria, the hegemony of gendered hierarchy in Indian education.
  • The UN promotes feminist pedagogy to create space for open discussions, develop learner strategies to resist institutional challenges and transform gendered power relations within organizations.
    • Such a pedagogy approaches curriculum design in line with international benchmarking to develop academic critical thinking and intellectual open-mindedness, directly reflecting the learning curve of outcome-based education (OBE).
      • OBE, in light of NEP, seeks to implement the aforementioned objectives.

Paradigm shift:

  • Positive environment: Segregating learners into sexist prejudices and gender socialisation in terms of their class, caste, gender, religion, sexuality, and region would not provide the desired sense of belonging among female and transgender students.
    • Instead, they should be included in the least restrictive environment possible, prompting successful self-actualisation.
  • Conditioning: The entire student cohort should be conditioned to unlearn undesired and antisocial behaviour and learn deserved changes in their behaviour through reinforcement.
  • Identification and incorporation of real-life situations and experiences: This includes discussion, role-play, skit, narration, presentation, improvisation, hot seat, appreciation of gender-inclusive participation, and inculcation of empathy among young to adult learners of primary to higher education.


The relationship between education, pedagogy, and gender dynamics is complex. Education has the potential to challenge societal gender norms and promote equality and social justice. Identifying gender inconsistencies, gaps, or disturbances is crucial to improving the learning process and fostering a problem-solving attitude.


Mains PYQ

Q. National Education Policy 2020 is in conformity with the Sustainable Development Goal-4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient education system in India. Critically examine the statement. (UPSC 2020)