Gendered Understanding of Law: Needs Assessments in Open and Distance Learning
The broad objective of this study was to assess the need for a ‘Post-Graduate Diploma Programme in Gender in Law’ in open and distance learning (ODL) mode. It was jointly conducted by School of Gender and Development Studies and School of Law. It interrogates the debates on gendered understanding of laws which are indispensable to bring civilization in any society. Thus, it explains the meaning of gender as a universal category and its linkages to the legal discourse in the Indian context. The questionnaire of the need assessment study was prepared under the guidance of Staff Training and Research Institute of Distance Education
(STRIDE), IGNOU. The data were collected from 400 respondents through survey method from East, West, North and South region with the help of 10 Indian states. The respondents include experts and target groups viz., institutions, professionals, teachers, academicians, organizations, lawyers, NGOs, NGOs working on gender and women’s issues. The key questions were on: need for gender and law programme in ODL; viability of the programme; entry qualification; duration; medium of instruction; enrollment interest; employability; broader practical course contents for field study and interest of the students to join the programme. The results revealed that majority of respondents felt the need for a one year Post-graduate Diploma in Gender in Law with related reasons. Majority of the respondents opined that the programme is viable and any graduate should be admitted to the programme. The important career prospects expected by respondents include opportunities to work in NGOs and research organizations. The important practical fieldwork content suggested by the respondents include: domestic violence, discrimination, sexual harassment and so on. In the light of the findings of this study, it is recommended to develop an ODL PG Diploma programme in Gender in Law to meet the needs of all stakeholders.