Inclusion or exclusion? By Shagufta Gul


Looking at the definition of inclusion and inclusive education it is “the is education that includes everyone, with non-disabled and Disabled people (including those with “special educational needs”) learning together in mainstream schools, colleges and universities. Inclusive education is an approach which recognizes and values the diversity of all types so that the diverse learning needs and preferences of individual learners are identified and met. “.This approach means that at any educational level each learner and his/her perspective is valued and that they are treated with dignity and respect, though it mostly refers to the people with special abilities and diverse groups.

This approach leaves the learner with multiple learning experiences including the understanding of attitudes of a different gender than the individual and preparing him or her for future social and professional interactions in the society. But it is really strange to observe that in this era of technology and gender mainstreaming instead of having an inclusive approach for all genders particularly the females the apparent efforts to ensure constitutional equality, we are pushing the females to isolation and exclusion instead of inclusion. That sometimes in the name of fundamental rights of sometimes in the name of religion that is interpreted as per need occasionally.

Though it’s a point to ponder that Hajj is the largest co gathering without any restriction on any gender and with no discrimination. But we are still stuck with the coeducation and security of females by segregating the two genders even in the higher education institutions, preparing inhabitants for planet Women something like Amazons in Greek Myths, the female warriors who dwelt in the modern region of Ukrain. For instance a news from Bacha khan University, Charsada (though the vice-chancellor is from Punjab which we assume to be more moderate) that a restriction is imposed on the joint movement of boys and girls in the University.

Then another announcement for Abbaya as a compulsory part of attire (though reverted back later ) for school girls in KP and the support of it by the advisor to CM in a very illogical manner is a clear reflection of the mindset. A similar directive was issued last year that no male chief guest would attend any event and only female chief guest MPA s would be invited on such occasions? arent we shrinking the spaces for young girls in the name of protection and security? Is it only the girl who has to be particular with her dress attire? What about boys and men? Here I would refer to the words of a very respectable Dr Qibla Ayaz, Chairman CII that we are in the transitional era and modernity demands broad-mindedness that comes not only through education but the overall social environment.

The biggest grey area in this system is that it has limited the potential of young only to the classroom where this system is classroom centric in nature. Limiting the potential of young generation kills its potential just like caging a bird kills its potential to fly”. When we say young generation that of course means all the genders. In my opinion gender diversity in learning environment is the best opportunity to explore one s own strengths and weaknesses plus it gives you the confidence that cant be built up with just lectures and advice Class centric education one of the other challenges and again such administrative directives are reducing the opportunities for constructive discussions for the students in universities.

Attraction to opposite gender is natural but in the meantime entering a university the first two-three months are enough to overcome that excitement and attraction slowly and gradually academic activities vision and excellence becomes the goal of youth ,higher education, more dreams, more goals irrespective of the fact that who is sitting next to whom.

Women already face multiple challenges in patriarchal society despite equal constitutional rights however this segregation is going to strengthen male dominance making the males aliens for females and vice versa and similarly t not someone equally human being

But from the last few years even the well-reputed universities are more concerned with the attire of the female students ,with segregated cafeteria special seating arrangements and so many more such administrative. I remember last year a university announced an off day on valentines day assuming that a whole lot of students may try to present a valentines gift to each other without realizing that the off day must have lead to much more to the few who would have presented just a flower. Also it is strange to see the teaching faculties with the same attitude towards students as if a whole lot of students is in affairs. Let me share that the more you restrict the legitimate legal interaction rather academic interaction in the higher educational institutions the more you are pushing the genders to exclusion. Women already face multiple challenges in patriarchal society despite equal constitutional rights however this segregation is going to strengthen male dominance making the males aliens for females and vice versa and similarly t not someone equally human being ..Isn’t it giving a ceremonial place kind of a fillers place to the female population which should have equal right of security equal right of movement and education? Isn’t it state s responsibility to ensure these rights of security and movement? What benefit are we getting from female universities in the name of equity and equality? I ponder will these girls in their workplace will handle only women, only women patients? Being an inhabitant of KP was surprised to see the similar trend in one of the universities in Punjab. A university is a place for learning vision formulation for young minds but it instead of academic excellence the focus is mostly on measures for segregation of males and females. exclusion instead of inclusion. The teaching faculties in some case are also contributing in the typical stereotypical manners teacher must know the students and the requirements of that age .you cant refine the skills confidence trust by just uttering these words to them. Exhibit it and give them opportunities which add up to trust and confidence. I believe that PhD shouldn’t be the only criteria in higher educational needs but the understanding of particular attitudes plus preparation for social interaction must be there in teachers plus the students, on the other hand, are no doubt distracted and more into gadgets and obsessed with social media least bothered due to the traditional systems.

Media instead of empowering promoting a very negative image of women creating a repulsion for the feminism and women empowerment we hardly see a woman playing a constructive role and most of the times shouting women, conspiring girls, misbehaving daughter in always are the source of entertainment. Similarly the crying heroines. Was going through the comments for a recent drama serial which again is glamorizing an extramarital affair and believe me all the comments are against the female character who is involved with a business tycoon, who in his place is deceiving his wife. We agree that media portrays what is happening around us but again the portrayal should not turn out to be targeting a specific gender and particularly women .as it will hinder the way for many who want to opt for a professional career

It is time to move ahead rather than getting tangled in the attires and sitting areas and mix gatherings, build the trust for academic discussion and dialogue which is the right of these learners in higher education institutions. Let them contribute together for a progressive and inclusive society with respect and understanding of all genders around them and that too for peaceful and fruitful co-existence .The more you restrict the more curiosity will be there plus of more time will be depleted in understanding different gender behaviorson a later stage in practical fields to understand the HUMAN BEINGS around.

The writer has experience in the field of education and is currently working as a resource person in the development sector