Wednesday November 21, 2018
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Why gender segregation in schools, colleges must be removed

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By Nithin Sridhar

Kerala Education Minister PK Abu Rabb has landed himself in a controversy after he commented: “I, as a minister and at a personal level, do not approve of boys and girls sitting together. But it is ok if they are on different chairs. Kerala does not have a culture of boys and girls sitting together.”

The issue of gender segregation in schools and colleges is not new, but the fact that this still exists as an unresolved issue speaks a lot about the direction our society is proceeding.

The Minister was actually reacting to the issue of suspension of a student from Muslim-run Farook College in Kozhikode who was suspended after he refused to apologize for sitting on a bench with girl students. The college had asked nine students consisting of both boys and girls to quit the class after they were found to be sitting on the same bench.

It appears that our schools and colleges are more interested in trivial issues than imparting quality education. Otherwise, why would the colleges always indulge in moral policing and imposing their sense of ‘culture’ on students, be it the imposition of dress codes or the imposition of gender segregation.

In the current scenario wherein rapes, sexual violence, and eve teasing have become rampant in the society, the gender segregation is doing more harm than good. In the present social environment, there is almost zero advantage from this gender segregation.

In the olden days, when the Gurukula system was prevalent, boys and girls were taught separately. But, the social conditions, as well as, the whole system of Gurukula was very much different from the current education system. In the current social scenario, the segregation of children based on gender is having a negative impact on both children and society.

At an individual level, the segregation has made children and youth under-confident, especially while interacting with those of opposite genders. Lack of interaction between boys and girls has kept them ignorant about emotions and behavioral traits of opposite genders. Further, this segregation has given rise to increased curiosity and desire for experimentation and exploration regarding the issues related to opposite genders that may lead to undesirable effects ranging from too much addiction to pornography to eve-teasing.

When such children grow up and become adults, many find it very difficult to work in offices wherein interactions with colleagues of opposite gender is inevitable. They will be afraid, unconfident, and many may end up in trouble due to miscommunication and misunderstanding.

Many of the women related issues present in the society are also rooted in this gender segregation. Depression due to rejection in love, eve-teasing, sexual harassment, are all rooted in the fact that, men who perpetrate these crimes do not recognize that women are also human beings who deserve freedom and dignity. The commodification and objectification of women in media have further complicated the situation.

The only manner in which these issues can be addressed is by making boys and girls study together from childhood without any segregation and discrimination. When boys and girls grow up together, then they will begin to perceive members of the opposite gender as being humans just like them.

Further, children will be able to appreciate the biological and emotional differences between boys and girls and accept each other for who they are. This will make them develop respect towards members of the opposite gender.

Such boys and girls will grow up to become confident individuals who are well educated on the interpersonal level. They are also less likely to indulge in actions like eve-teasing, mistreating of women, etc.

This is not to suggest that removing gender segregation by itself will miraculously solve all the problems of society. Instead, removing gender segregation will act as a first step and will go a long way in addressing many of the gender-related issues.

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Tips To Help In Decision-Making If You Wish To Study Abroad

We can learn every single day but only if we are open to it.

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Five tips to decision-making if you want to study abroad

Among the more important things we do in life is to take decisions. At a time of information overload, this can be particularly challenging. And yet, this is the time of year when students have to make up their minds on their future course of study abroad. It is one of the most difficult and important decisions they would need to take and would, most certainly, impact them for the rest of their lives.

Trends suggest that there would be an increasing number of Indian students who would be opting for higher studies, particularly in Australia.

What are some of the key things to keep in mind?

Abroad, study
Employability is not a quotient of how many books we have read or quotations we know by heart. Wikimedia Commons

Do your homework, but don’t get bogged down: Doing your homework and basic research are important, but too much information can make decision-making difficult and even confusing. It is important to decide what subject you would like to pursue, where you would like to study abroad, whether you meet the entry and eligibility criteria and, finally, do you have the required funds to pay for it. Given the Indian Rupee-Australian Dollar exchange rate, studying in Australia is significantly cheaper than opting for the US and the UK, which pose additional and new challenges.

Know how to apply: If you are going through an education agent, first find out which education agents have been empanelled by the university of choice. For instance, the internationally-ranked University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, has only 12 registered India-based education partners. No one else is authorised to process student applications. The list is available on the university’s website. Furthermore, empanelled agents are not authorised to charge students for services they render. Such payments, or commissions, are paid by the university.

Abroad, study
India needs a world-class higher educational system Pixabay

Know why you are pursuing higher studies: Simon Sinek, in his path-breaking book, “The Power of Why”, emphasised the misplaced emphasis that so many place on “what” and “how” without ever knowing “why”. If we know “why” we are planning on a particular course of action, other things fall in place. In terms of sequencing, “why” is where we first start. You can decide, for instance, to pursue an undergraduate course in Finance and Accounting if you are clear in your mind as to why you would like to do so. Once you know your “why”, the “where” is easy.

Embrace Change: Often our parents, in particular, and sometimes even we, fear the uncertain. Living abroad, especially if it is the first time, can be challenging. Is it safe? What is the culture like? Would my son or daughter make friends? Would the studying and living culture cause problems? These are all legitimate questions and anxieties. At the same time, if the decision is to study abroad, it is important to be open to change. Some things might be similar to what we are used to but there would be big differences in several other aspects. What is particularly fascinating is that “other cultures” open up the mind to new ways of seeing and thinking — and even behaving.

Also Read: The Critique Of The Indian Education System

Learn with Passion: We can learn every single day but only if we are open to it. “Smell the roses” we are told and yet, we rarely do. Employability is not a quotient of how many books we have read or quotations we know by heart but how we are able to relate with our external environment. This is what employers look for because what they want are persons who can work in a team, who can take decisions and, consequently, who anticipate and solve problems without compromising on integrity and values. Great educational institutions recognise this and embed it into their pedagogy. It is what makes them stand out. (IANS)