Gender stereotyping should end at pre-school level itself to make sure children do not become gender biased when they grow up, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) said on Thursday.
The HRD Ministry's curriculum developing body has made the "gender equality" recommendations in the new guidelines for pre-school education. It has asked schools to ensure that teachers demonstrate equal and appropriate expectations from boys and girls by providing them equal attention, respect and equal opportunities.
Schools should select books, plays and other activities free of any gender bias. "Teachers should avoid language that limits one gender or another, and use gender neutral labels," a senior NCERT official said.
"Teachers should use stories, songs, activities and facilitation aids that depict girls and boys, including some with special needs in the same roles as men and women in all professions. Both women and men should appear as leaders, heroes and problem solvers," the official said.
It has also been recommended that parents are regularly sensitised to support these practices at home. "It is important to help them understand and stop discrimination," the official added.
The proposed curriculum will follow developmentally appropriate practices (DAP) that are appropriate to their age, stage and context.
The guidelines have also recommendations for play schools to ensure careful inclusion of children with disabilities through early intervention that minimises learning difficulties and accelerates child development.