The understanding of gender in education places the role of education and pedagogical practice as that which needs to develop through a critical understanding of gender. Currently the role of gender in education in India, has only scratched the surface in including sex education within the curriculum. This policy in itself is not active in large parts of the country, indicative of the evident gaps. The limited government schemes are aimed at imparting information on adolescent reproductive health.

Our approach is distinct and different from the language of rights, reproductive health and sex education. We have made a concerted effort at addressing everyday practices and attitudes that cater to a conservative, misinformed and culturally divisive idea of gender and sexuality. The focus is on children and adolescents, to pose challenges to the understanding of gender that develops early and through strong influences by familial relationships, school structures, religious influences and the media.

We are also in the process of creating course modules for colleges, using a combination of theory and arts-based workshops to translate ideas and concepts around gender and sexuality. The central effort with this programme, is to situate a subjective practice of gender within broader social structures, feminist movements and academic learnings. We have, in developing and conducting courses on gender and sexuality been conscious of allowing it to be a multi-disciplinary approach. The idea is to make the understanding of gender simple, accessible and central to everyday experiences.

Recently, we have increased our engagement with educational spaces, working in both schools and colleges. By interacting with students and teachers in diverse educational settings, we hope to develop a critical pedagogy around gender and sexuality.  Our approach takes a turn to the personal, encouraging students to reflect on their own experiences and through this, arrive at their understanding and articulation of gender and sexuality through the crucial periods of childhood and adolescence. Simultaneously, we provide students with critical frameworks through which to situate themselves in relation to a gendered idea of caste, class, religion, patriarchy, urbanization, nationalism etc.

We are working in collaboration with Compassionate Kozhikode, an initiative by the District Administration in Calicut to introduce gender sensitivity workshops in schools in Calicut.Our role is primarily facilitative in nature- developing course modules, training of trainers and distance mentoring. Besides this, we also conducted baseline and endline surveys researching the particular socio-cultural context in Calicut.

Drawing from our extensive work in the arts, we have developed a set of modules which uses theatre, games and exercises as the primary approach in the workshops. The modules were modified to address students from ages 7-13. Through various activities we encourage a turn to the personal in deconstructing everyday stereotypical behaviour, encouraging critical awareness and arriving at ideas about gender.