Project Samatha is an intervention envisaged to provide gender sensitisation and training of teachers in order to impact the minds of underprivileged children. Existing research shows that gender stereotypes are formed at a very young age, and schools are often an important site for such socialisation and reinforcement. As we grapple with the unequal realities that intersections of class, caste, gender, and religion make apparent in today's society, the need for gender-sensitive pedagogy during a child's formative years seems necessary. In India, the challenge of implementing equal education in the classroom is only compounded by the fact that teachers at the pre-primary and primary level are given very meagre training, if at all, to tackle issues like gender. By focusing on training kindergarten and primary school teachers from government and affordable private schools, this intervention aims to sensitise these educators to the concept of gender roles and stereotypes, how these often affect their pedagogy, and how they can use gender-sensitive pedagogy in their own teaching practices.Project Samatha aims at helping both male and female teachers become socially sensitive educators, thereby contributing to the larger goal of raising a more egalitarian child.
The project targets schools around Shaikpet and Film Nagar in Hyderabad, where Kriti has been implementing education initiatives for the past decade. As a part of this project, teacher training workshops and mentoring sessions will be organised keeping in view school schedules. Workshop modules cover topics such as the concept of gender, gender roles and stereotypes, gender as a barrier, girls and boys in the classroom, how gender shapes teaching, and working towards creating a gender-sensitive classroom. The twin goals of this project are to address the lack of proper teacher training and the inherent inequalities present in the pre-primary and primary classroom, as well as to sensitise teachers to the cognitive and socio-cultural challenges faced by children from disadvantaged communities. A related goal is to develop a cadre of master trainers who will act as influencers in the larger teacher community in this area.
The training is being conducted through online zoom meetings with a batch of 20 teachers. The course content and additional reading/viewing material is provided to the teachers on a tablet.
As the implementing partner, Kriti Social Initiatives has teamed up with scholars from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) and Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) to design this unique intervention approach that combines research, training design, and delivery of training. The Project Samatha team includes Professor Aparna Rayaprol, Professor and Former Head of the Department of Sociology (UoH); Professor Usha Raman, Department of Communication (UoH); and Professor Salma A. Farooqui, Centre for Deccan Studies (MANUU). The project is funded by the U.S. Consulate under its Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund.