Draft National Education Policy Talks About Transgender Students and Their Needs

The Draft National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 prepared by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) after consultation with various stakeholders, that has been put up for comments from the public, includes a section that puts the focus on transgender students and its needs.

The Draft was prepared by a committee headed by Chairman Dr K Kasturirangan and is built on the foundational pillars of ‘Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability, and Accountability’ and proposes various changes in the education system of India, including the training and quality of teachers. Chapter 6 of the Policy is titled Equitable and Inclusive Education and has a section on Transgender Students as well.

Section 6.7 of the Draft is titled Education of transgender children and details how trans-inclusive the new education policy should be. The first para of the Section (P6.7.1) talks about ‘Ensuring participation of transgender children in school education’. “The Policy recognises the urgent need to address matters related to the education of transgender children and initiating appropriate measures to remove the stigma and discrimination they face in their life, including with respect to education,” it states. The Policy prescribes forming a national database of transgender children and creation of safe and supportive school environments for them. “Schools, school complexes, and social workers will be encouraged to develop a plan in consultation with transgender students and their parents regarding the use of their names and access to rest rooms and other spaces corresponding to their gender identity,” it notes. Furthermore, the draft policy says that teachers would be sensitised and trained about the needs of transgender students, and “curriculum and textbooks will be reoriented to address issues related to transgender children, their concerns, and approaches that would help meet their learning needs.”

The next para (P6.7.2.) states: “Active involvement of civil society groups in conjunction with social workers will be sought to facilitate and ensure participation of transgender children in all levels of school education.” The draft policy proposes active engagement of the Directorate of Education in the States as well as NCPCR/SCPCR “to ensure that all transgender children of school age are enabled to receive quality school education“.

The draft policy has also proposed sex education in secondary school, as well as gender sensitisation in schools. In para P6.2.5, under Section 6.2 dealing with education of Girls, the policy states, “All educational institutions and affiliated offices will be mandated to conduct awareness sessions on gender issues to break stereotyped gender roles, on the importance of harassment-free environments and equal treatment of genders, and on legal protections and entitlements for girls and women including the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO), Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, the Maternity Benefit Act (along with its Amendment), and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act. Training will aim to raise teachers’ and educational administrators’ awareness of gender-sensitive and inclusive classroom management.

The Draft policy, however, makes no mention of imparting/educating young adolescents with knowledge about different sexualities.

MHRD is currently seeking feedback from the public on the Draft NEP 2019, and your comments and feedback can be submitted directly till June 30th by mailing at nep.edu@nic.in

You could also add your comments to the google doc (link) . being prepared to send the comments collectively.

Sukhdeep Singh