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Sexist vs non sexist education : its implications for the education of South African Indian females

Submitted to the Faculty of Education in partial fulfilment
of the requirements for the degree of Master
of Education in the Department of Sociology
of Education at the University of Zululand, 1995. / The purpose of this study was to measure the extent to which sexism and/or non-sexism is practised in Indian Schools, controlled by the HOD's Department of Education and Culture and then consider its implications for the education of the South African Indian females.

Three methods of research-survey, questionnaires and interviews - were used to gather data from a population of 414 persons, comprising parents, educators and students The researcher intended to establish how these people perceive the influence and impact of sexism/non-sexism on the education of the Indian girls. The data were analysed and interpreted by the 'Triangulation Technique' to enhance the accuracy and the authenticity of the findings.

The literature review revealed that sexism in education is universal. Most societies under-invest in their females' education; and although there has recently been equal access to education there has not been equal opportunities to both the sexes. Little information on sexism in Indian education was available.

In the historical review of the education of the Indian females, three distinct periods of governmental control were identified - Natal Colonial Government (1860-1910), Union Government (1910-1961) and Republican Government since 1961. In each period the parents and the government had discriminated against the Indian girls and under-invested in their education.

Theoretical perspectives on sexism and the practices of sexism and/or non-sexism obtaining elsewhere In the world were presented. This exposition focused on the construction of gender, sex-role stereotyping how
the school perpetuates these gender differences, and how education is planned and dispensed to empower the males and disempower the females. Comparisons with the Indian situation in South Africa revealed a close resemblance in the way sexism works.

This research demonstrated a confirmation of the sexist practices. The main findings revealed that : the HOD's Department of Education and Culture is sexist; the schools do not overtly practise sexism but the status quo reveals sexism; the differentiated curricula are designed to covertly empower the males over the females in the workplace and the wider society; the Indian parents and the government still under-invest in the girls' education; although the Indian parents now value the education of their daughters, they could still sacrifice it in favour of their sons; sexual harassment occurs at schools and the school population is not fully aware of the institutionalised sexism in Indian education. Emerging from these findings are the following recommendations: integrate schools on non-sexist lines
desist from sex-role sterotyping and allocating work according to sex at schools
conscientize and transform the school population adopt open curricula at schools empower women teachers
use non-sexist language and literature at schools deal effectively with teenage pregnancy encourage women to engage in wage labour include parents in restructuring education.
Date January 1995
CreatorsPonnusamy, Marimutu
ContributorsNxumalo, O.E.H.M.
Source SetsSouth African National ETD Portal
Detected LanguageEnglish

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