In India out of 3 only one women is empoloyed and out of 20 only 1 trans person get employment opportunity. This gender biases is not a single step of the problem. It is a vicious cycle. It starts from home, from parents to go to society and then this reinforce in school system. This vicious cycle is still going and it will not end untill the leaders will not work on this in creaking this system. So, while analysing the problem we found that the root cause of the problem is “Lack of leaders who are advocating for Gender-Free Education”. And to fullfill this gap, we have designed our own Gender-Free Education concept which is developed by doing pilot program with children in Nontara, Jamui, Bihar. Now we are launching “Anantmool Fellowship” program to create leaders who can facilitate Gender-Free Education in schools of India.
Explanation of gender-free learning centre
We are going to create a gender-free learning centre, where children can grow without caring about their gender identity. This will be possible by following interventions:-
- Gender-free uniform:- We are not going to follow any uniform. But we will provide trousers and other clothes which can be any colour. If a child comes with certain clothes like a girl wearing falling skirts or flowery clothes, then we will have a dialogue with the child and will ask the questions, do you really like these clothes?”
- Gender-free language:- We will not use he/she or his/her words. But we will use names, friends, wah/hum (gender-neutral Hindi words) everybody and they/them. This will also help in the mindset transformation of a child towards gender-free.
- Gender-free books:- As books are gendered, we are going to transform the current books into gender-free. But transforming all books will take a lot of time. So, we are working on creating a handbook of one-month sessions with the school to learn the reflective and effective ways of reading books to identify gender biases in any book easily.
- Gender-free sitting arrangement and toilets:- We are not going to create a conventional classroom, but we will have studios where our children will learn. Wherever children will sit in the group, we will ensure that they are not sitting separately. The toilet will be gender-free which will enable them to respect each gender equally. The cleanliness of the toilet also will be one aspect to learn for children.
- Gender-free sports:- first thing, we are going to create a competition-free sports academy. And then all genders will play together without considering who is losing or who is winning. We encourage children to compete with themselves, not with others.
- Holistic development of children:- Our curriculum focus is creating the opportunity for children equally to develop holistically. And from holistically, I mean a. physical development through sports, and outdoor activities, b. social development by socializing children within the school and involving children to learn traditional practices by local farmers and old people to give gratitude, c. emotional development by creating a culture in the school of everyone living as a family. Our teachers will act like friends and friendly parents. Our offices will be door-less which enable children to access school staff as well easily. d. intellectual development through critical thinking project work, experiential learning, debate, talk show, etc.
Every day, children from the local community will come to the centre and will study together. We will engage the local community in their learning like children will work on a farm to learn the farming techniques and hard work to get the food. This inclusion with other children and adults will create harmony between all genders. These children go out into the big wide world to learn diverse things, such as how to use eco-friendly stoves, traditional musical instruments, and farming. The whole world is a learning centre for our children, and this small centre is a place of experimentation and knowledge. These children will become the researchers, experimenters and outliers who inspire the world and change the mindset towards gender and sexual diversity.
Impact of the Learning Centre
We are looking at the impact of our learning centre as a multiplier effect in two following ways:-
- Our school children as role models:- Whoever will go through with anantmool learning centre, will have a gender-free mindset. These youth will become role models for society and will break the stereotype of gender diversity and gender-based stereotypes. Parents will be inspired by these youth and they will also raise their children gender-free.
- Our learning center as a role model:- Many schools wants to follow gender equality in their school. But because of a lack of resources, research, and training facilities, they are not able to move completely gender-free. Our school will become a role model for other schools and will provide resources, training, and all research work as an open source to other schools, governments, and other organizations to transform many schools.