Drawing on her long experience in child rights and education reform, Prof. Shantha Sinha, former Chairperson, of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights gave an inspiring and informative inaugural keynote address in a teacher training online workshop on Promoting Inclusion and Educational Opportunity among Disadvantaged Groups in Hyderabad hosted by the University of Hyderabad, on 6th August, 2020. A group of 20 school teachers from government and affordable private schools in the Shaikpet area of Hyderabad are participating in the workshop, which is the first of two in the series. Prof. Sinha emphasized that gender sensitivity must begin very early and teachers can be key agents of change. She advocated institutional reform that mandates gender equality in the school and is intolerant of any systemic sexual harassment.

The workshop is part of a US consulate Alumni Engagement Project involving Fulbright alumni Prof. Aparna Rayaprol, Department of Sociology, Prof. Usha Raman, Department of Communication UoH and Prof. Salma Farooqui, a UoH alumnus and currently faculty at MANUU, Centre for Deccan Studies, and the NGO, Kriti, which works in the areas of women’s skill development and empowerment, and children’s education from 2009. At the workshop, Kriti was represented by trustees, Himani Gupta and Sreelata Chebrol. As part of their education initiatives, Kriti has been working with several government and private schools in the Shaikpet Mandal area along with local area Anganwadis. This particular project with school teachers seeks to develop a cohort of master trainers for gender sensitization.

While the project had initially envisaged a three-day face-to-face workshop to be hosted at the University of Hyderabad, the Covid-19 restrictions necessitated a switch to an online mode. The workshop is instead being offered as a set of nine online modules from 4th to 21st August 2020. The valedictory address will be given by Prof. Sheela Prasad, Centre for Regional Studies on 21st August, 2020.