A day after the chief minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, said the left-wing dispensation would not decide on school uniforms for children, a government school for boys in Thiruvananthapuram district was mixed on Thursday with some of the first batch of girl students who went to class wearing gender-neutral uniforms. wore. The first batch of girls students has been inducted into Class 11 of Government Model Higher Secondary School for Boys, Chala, Thiruvananthapuram.
The move to make the school, which was intended for boys only for the past 40 years, a mixed or coeducational school has been welcomed by students of both sexes. Some of the new members told the media that they went to the school because they wanted to study with boys.
“Not in favor of how gender is currently interpreted or taught in society. We should study together. So I came here to study like that,” said one of the girls. Some of the other girls’ students, who came from girls’ schools, expressed the same opinion and said they joined them as they wished.
One of a student’s parents told the media that their daughter had expressed her wish to study at school with boys and so they allowed her there. The boys were also happy with the move and gave a standing ovation to the first batch of girls as they walked through the school gates.
The boys said they would support their new school friends’ decision. Meanwhile, IUML MLA MK Muneer, a noted critic of the left-wing government’s gender-neutral policies, continued his attack on it, saying that society and the CPI(M) have not grown up to accept it.
Speaking to reporters from Kozhikode, Muneer said that gender discrimination should be removed, and then there should be gender awareness and gender justice. “Only then can we present such a concept (of gender neutrality) to a society that is not mature. Even the Marxist party is not mature enough for it,” he claimed.
He said the CM’s response regarding uniforms came to a question from LDF MLA KK Shailaja, showing senior party leaders are also asking where such a policy comes from and who made it. He also welcomed the removal of some terminology such as LGBTQ from the government’s latest education policy, saying he sees it as a positive step.
Speaking to the media in the state capital, State Education Minister V Sivankutty said the government has never said it will compulsorily or coercely educate boys and girls together. “Kerala’s chief minister had made it clear in the meeting yesterday that the government would not impose gender-neutral uniforms or coeducational schools on anyone,” Sivankutty said.
He said local self-government institutions, parent associations and the schools decide and implement how things should be managed in their respective educational institutions. Vijayan had said in the meeting on Wednesday that the left-wing dispensation would not decide what kind of uniforms children should wear in schools. It was the prerogative of educational institutions to decide what kind of uniform girls and boys should wear, he’d said.
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