Gender-Based Content of Educational Materials for the Study of Serbian Language in Lower-Stage Grades of Elementary Education

  •  Vesna Trifunovic    
  •  Ruzica Petrovic    


This paper presents the results of analysis of educational materials for the study of Serbian language in lower-stage grades of elementary education (intended for students from 7 through 11 years old) from gender perspective. The first part of the paper presents the process of institutionalization of gender-based education in the Republic of Serbia after the year 2000, when gender issues became highlighted as an integral part of the overall reform of education within the implementation of education for democracy and civil society. Declarative commitment to developing gender sensitivity has led to changes in the curriculum for elementary education and, presumably, changes in the selection of educational materials for different school subjects. The authors intended to determine whether educational materials for Serbian language honor the principle of gender equality in the selection of literary texts. The presence and nature of gender-based content in reading books from different publishers, for second and third grade, was determined by using the method of content analysis. The aim was to establish empirical evidence that would show the degree of gender sensitivity of analyzed educational materials and their compliance with the strategic commitment to gender mainstreaming in education.

The authors are aware of the range of this micro-level research, and the impossibility to reach general conclusions, however, in their opinion, the obtained data may shed a light on at least one part of the mosaic of the complex relationship of education, educational material and gender equality in contemporary Serbian society. The following conclusions were drawn: (a) the analyzed educational material serves the function of developing gender sensitivity; (b) the principle of gender equality is respected in selection of the material; (c) the distinguished gender characteristics go beyond the so-called traditional gender pattern.

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