A proposal to revise the text books for younger children by including the identification of male and female genitals is being considered by the NCERT. The move comes after a study, conducted by medical students of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences in 2016. The MGIMS study analysed Class I and II textbooks of the NCERT and found that the syllabus covered ‘human body parts’ but refrained from labelling the genital organs. The diagram of a naked boy labelled parts including the nose, knees and hands, but kept the genital area covered. Indicating absence of adequate school education to raise awareness on child sexual abuse, the study came up with this reform.
Dr Indrajit Khandekar attached with the forensic medicine department at MGIMS that conducted the study said, a minor victim of sexual abuse is unable to name body parts to describe an assault. “They give vague references to private parts. It is necessary to educate children at an early age,” he said. “Teaching students about these body parts may help increase reporting of cases,” Khandekar added.
Apart from the NCERT, the report was submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Human Resource Development Minister and the Maharashtra Education Minister. It also studied textbooks for Class I to VII of the NCERT, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Delhi, and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE-ICSE) boards, as well as various state boards. Except the state board of Tamil Nadu, no syllabus exclusively taught children about child sex abuse or how to report it.