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29 Feb 2024, Edition - 3152, Thursday

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Columns

Unique Women Educator: Gender at Schools

Santosh Avvannavar

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The 2023 International Women’s Day theme is “Digital ALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.”

Women are still denied access to education, particularly at higher levels. The digital revolution is helping to bridge the gap. In education, IT, and the health sector, growth has brought with it the importance of gender equality in education and at work.

In education, women are now occupying leadership positions, including as school principals. This is a significant change from the past, when women were excluded from these positions. This has helped to break down traditional gender stereotypes and encourage more women to pursue their interests and goals.

Women in teaching and other leadership roles are an indicator of a paradigm shift in Indian education. Mrs. G. Anuradha, principal of the Bangalore International High, said the smile we see on the face of a woman is the confidence education has given her.

With more women taking up teaching and other caring professions, is it seen as “women’s work”?

Teaching and school leadership require a range of skills and qualities, including empathy, problem-solving, and communication, which seems naturally suited for women, said Anuradha Ramesh, Principal of the National Public School in Agara, Bengaluru.

Mrs. G. Anuradha also believes that “patience” quality is a driving force for women’s taking up roles in schools. With the art of using emotions in teaching, the ability to work with the different paces of the learners makes women stand out in educational roles.

It isn’t uncommon to see and hear stories of women having to give up their dreams because of their family’s or in-laws choices for them. Some educated women are still restricted to four walls. Anuradha Ramesh said, “Some sections of women still face such situations. However, there are many who give up because they try to be someone that they aren’t and aren’t passionate about it. For instance, during teaching position interviews, several women applicants wanted to take up teaching because they felt it was all about teaching A to Z alphabets. With the digital revolution, kids of the present generation are smart.”

Mrs. G. Anuradha strongly believes that women can mould themselves to take care of their children and in-laws. A career-oriented woman is also a caretaker of her family. It’s part of a woman’s life journey!

The pandemic’s impact has aided in the transition of education and work to a virtual or hybrid mode. With such options in place, opportunities for women must be a boon. All genders stepping into work would mean cultural and economic growth for the nation.

Anuradha Ramesh shares some anecdotes from her personal life: “My grandmother was a doctor who fought against the odds. She would always motivate us to get educated. And she believed that educated and qualified people must work.”
Anuradha Ramesh adds that such thoughts are an indication of passionate people who finds self-satisfaction, the ability to handle nuances, and the desire to be change-makers for their families and society.

As Ken Robins rightly pointed out, “Education is always about relationships. Great teachers are not just instructors and test administrators: they are mentors, coaches, motivators, and lifelong sources for their students. “These sentiments echo those of Mrs. G. Anuradha, who loves to teach science but also loves students. Perhaps that makes her a unique educator.

According to Anuradha Ramesh, a unique educator question things that look like trends. For example, the abundance of information on the internet needs to have checks and balances, as students could pick up the wrong information. Otherwise, education would like the internet to teach and raise children.

Santosh Avvannavar, Education Journalist QtSTEAM & Mentor QtPi Robotics

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