Gender neutral uniforms: Kerala government school sets example

Law-and-Policy Schools Students

With the debate on gender neutral uniforms in school coming into the limelight in recent times, Kerala education minister, V Sivankutty appreciated the efforts of a 106 year old government school in Kerala which introduced unisex uniforms for its students from 2019.

The Government Lower Primary School at Valayanchirangara in Ernakulam district had initiated gender inclusive, unisex uniforms from 2019 owing to the timely intervention of parents and school PTA, Matrubhumi reported. It was decided that both boys and girls would wear shirts and trousers so as to ensure their comfort and free movement.

Until 2019, the school, like most other schools across the globe, had shirts and trousers as uniforms for boys and shirts and skirts as uniforms for girls. However, many girls were not comfortable participating in sports events and other physical activities, due to the fear that their skirts may get blown by the wind. The report quotes the principal in-charge, Suma KP as saying that students opened up and expressed their discomfort regarding the uniform.

“All parents and students supported the decision to switch the uniform from frock and skirt to three-fourth pants. First the change was introduced in pre-primary and then it was implemented in all classes from 1 to 4. The children were happy as they don’t need to bother about the uniform anymore,” former Principal C. Raji has been reported to have said. The school is the first government school in the state to have introduced gender neutral uniforms.

The move has been lauded by many persons including MP Shashi Tharoor, Minister for Higher Education R Bindu etc. Education Minister V Sivankutty has said that “We need similar efforts to achieve the goal of gender equality in education and other fields”. He added that the textbooks will be audited in order to ensure gender equality and justice in the content which may result in revolutionary changes in the long run, the report added.

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