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AIOU holds gender studies seminar

Introduction of gender equality concepts in curriculum at primary level stressed

Islamabad

To bring social change through the discipline of gender studies, there is a need to introduce concepts of gender equality and women rights in the curriculum at primary and high school level.

The conclusion was shared at a seminar organised by Gender and Women Studies Department of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) to mark the conclusion ceremony of “Strengthening of Gender and Women Studies Department” project funded by Gender Equity Programme of Aurat Foundation.

The project outcomes included three research studies on important gender and women related issues, new programs in Gender and Women Studies (GWS) such as GWS M.Phil programme, bachelors level courses and a specialised Postgraduate Diploma, a state of the art Gender Resource Centre equipped with latest computer, research software, books, research journals and other study material  for the research students and  capacity building and gender sensitization trainings for academic and administrative staff.

The seminar was widely attended by the representatives of the project signatories, academic staff, students and researchers. GWS Chairperson Department Dr. Riffat Haque, in her introductory remarks, thanked the collaborators and briefed the participants about various project activities that were executed successfully. She also expressed her profound gratitude to the Vice Chancellor Dr. Shahid Siddiqui for extending his support and visionary supervision at every step of the way.

The study on educational needs of women prisoners in Pakistani jails is of great importance since it was designed as a pilot testing exercise to develop a full-fledged project of the kind by AIOU to provide women prisoners with an opportunity to study for financial and personal empowerment. The idea of this study, which came from the Vice Chancellor AIOU Dr Shahid Siddiqui, will potentially expand AIOU’s contributory role in the development of the marginalized sections of society through easily accessible quality education.

Under this research study, the research team visited six jails and noted down the condition of women inmates. The study observes a positive tendency towards adult education but notices lack of legal and psychological help for women in the prison.

On this occasion, Dean Faculty of Social Sciences Professor Dr. Syed Abdul Siraj congratulated the department for successful culmination of the project. Chief Of Party GEP Younis Khalid expressed his delight over the excellent execution of the project activities. He highlighted the disconnect between theory and practice of knowledge as an important challenge which needs to be addressed for effective policy reforms and services provisions.

The study on open and distance learning transforming social perception of gender studies graduates highlighted that though studying this discipline is a rewarding, empowering and life changing experience yet it can be quite challenging too.  The students do gain the knowledge but also confront a huge gap between theory and practice of gender equality in everyday life in Pakistan. It suggests that this gap can only be minimized if the concepts of gender equality and women rights are introduced in the curriculum at the school level.

Reporter. AIOU holds gender studies seminar. The News, February 1, 2017.

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