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Around 172 years ago, Savitribai walked to school with a clean sari in her bag. She knew the dung and stones flung at her on her way there, would require her to change her sari before she walked into the classroom to face her students. All the women teachers own a debt of gratitude to Savitribai Phule and other courageous passionate women like her who changed the world for our great grandmothers and are continuing to make space for women in the education sector.
According to MHRD’s statistics at a glance, we have improved as a country from a female:male teachers ratio of 20:100 in 1950’s to 73:100 in 2016. Even in the male bastion of higher education, we see women taking their place with a 64:100 ratio. There are more girls retained in the education system than boys, which tells us that the gender ratio of teachers will soon be 1:1. Close to half a million women shape the future of our children based on the format of school and colleges that the country has created. We need more changes in the format to make it more relevant and enable students to develop agency in leading their own learning.
On this International Women’s Day, we salute the contribution of women, who, like Savitribai, play a seminal role in shaping this format and influence the way teachers and administrators learn how to teach and lead change in their organisations:
Padma Sarangapani, Professor, TISS, Mumbai, played a seminal role in the development of the now sought-after MA in Education course in TISS. Conceptualised as a multi-disciplinary course, it is meant for those who are active, engaged and immersed in the field and want to go deeper in their understanding of the role of education in the development of the country. The visiting faculty consists of practitioners that make it an exciting blend of theory and application.
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