Imagine a teacher writing filthy abuses on the blackboard and explaining their meanings to students. Shocked? This is exactly what schoolteachers in Andhra Pradesh are being told to do. A handbook designed by the state government to train schoolteachers has a peculiar chapter that has left teachers blushing. This chapter suggests that they should make students list out women-specific filthy words or abuses, generally used as slang in society, and explain their meaning.
The offending chapter in question, Discrimination in culture", says: 'List out such words and ask students to write them down along with their meanings. Explain why most of these vulgar words are related to sex of women, their chastity and doubting their fidelity. Tell the students whether such gender abuses are there in other countries, too and what they are.'
The handbook, which was distributed among teachers at a training programme across the state on Thursday and Friday, basically deals with gender discrimination in society and how teachers should educate their students on eradicating this evil. It was prepared with the support of the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Rajiv Vidya Mission (earlier Sarva Siksha Abhiyan) programme and Jana Ganam, a voluntary organisation.
The handbook states the chapter's objective was to make students understand why discrimination against women in the socio-economic fields has been reflected in culture. Several teachers at the training programmes expressed the view that though the handbook was designed with a good objective, it will be highly embarrassing for them to talk about vulgar words.
'It is ridiculous. How can we mention vulgar abuses before students, leave alone telling them to write them down and explain their meanings?' G. Rama Devi, a state teachers union member, said. Senior teacher L. Ravinder Rao said those who designed the chapter might not have taken the teachers' sensitivities into consideration.