On April 4, 2014, teachers from across Massachusetts gathered for the sixth annual Educators for Teaching India (EFTI) Conference at Harvard, hosted by SAI in partnership with EFTI, The Winsor School, Phillips Academy and The Groton School. The conference brought together high school and middle school educators from both private and public schools who are interested in teaching courses about India and South Asia.
The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Women in India: Negotiating Tradition and Modernity,’ which was chosen in light of increased media attention on gender violence in India. Harleen Singh, Associate Professor of Literature, Women’s and Gender Studies, and South Asian Studies, Brandeis University, gave the keynote address to kick off the conference, explaining challenges faced by women and India, and sharing her own personal experiences as an Indian women.
In the interactive workshops, teachers were able to engage with experts on a wide variety of topics related to women in India, including peer pressure on street children, women and leadership in India, female identity in Hinduism, the influence of the education system in reducing gender violence, and female infanticide India.
The fascinating workshops provided teachers with the opportunity to explore these complex topics and brainstorm how the sensitive issues can be taught in the classroom. Closing remarks were given by Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School and Director of SAI.
Established in 2008, EFTI is a group of secondary school educators dedicated to deepening knowledge of India and to exploring India’s role in school curricula. The organization includes teachers in public and private schools as well as educators in supporting academic institutions. Through outreach and education, EFTI aims to enhance the role that India plays in curriculum.
The following podcast is the first in a series from the conference. Check our website in the coming weeks for future podcasts.
Women’s Rights and Gender Based Violence: The Influence of the Education System
Presenter: Antara Lahiri (Harvard Kennedy School) and Amy Enright (Rivers School)
This workshop discussion centers around gender violence in India and the role that can be played by schools in changing this dynamic. The violent December 2012 gang rape case in New Delhi is used as an anchor to understand the dynamics of protest and empowerment in Indian society today. The many responses to the gang rape case are highlighted. The position of women in India today and the cultural and societal assumptions that underlie this position are also discussed.
Note: the workshop starts at 7:05.
Podcast: Teaching India in the classroom, Part 2