Published: 10th November 2021
Parent launches online petition asking NCERT to bring back its gender-inclusive teacher's training manual
The manual, titled Inclusion of Transgender Children in School Education: Concerns and Roadmap, focused on methods to sensitise teachers to make the school environment more inclusive
After the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) removed the teacher's training manual on gender inclusion in schools from its website in early November 2021, a parent has written to Sridhar Srivastava, Joint Director of NCERT requesting him to revoke the decision and bring back the training manual. The manual, titled Inclusion of Transgender Children in School Education: Concerns and Roadmap, focused on methods to sensitise teachers to make the school environment more inclusive to students who don't conform to gender identities and transpersons.
The parent, Dr Nilakshi Roy, who is a parent of a queer child, has launched a petition on change.org and is seeking 5,000 signatures before sending it to the NCERT Joint Director. Currently, the petition has over 3,800 signatures on the portal. In the letter, Roy states, "It is rightful to include the chapter to the NCERT training manual so that the country can at least make up for the lost time and rise to the occasion as well-informed citizens. I strongly suggest that the training material be retained and used effectively." The petition was launched on November 7.
The NCERT had removed the training manual after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) wanted to rectify certain parts of the manual. According to the letter NCPCR sent to NCERT on November 2, the text of the manual suggests gender-neutral infrastructure for children that does not commensurate with their gender realities and basic needs. "Also, the idea of creating and removing binaries will deny them equal rights of children of diverse biological needs. Second, this approach will expose children to unnecessary psychological trauma due to contradictory environments at home and in school," Priyank Kanoongo, NCPCR chairperson, had stated in the letter.
In the training manual, the NCERT not only discusses and explains terms like cisgender and agender, but it also promotes the building of gender-neutral uniforms and toilets in schools. It also asked the teachers to not segregate students for extra-curricular and co-curricular activities based on their gender. The NCERT also suggested inviting people from the transgender community to speak on campus and educate the teachers and students.