Published: 04th August 2022
Kerala Education Minister Sivankutty speaks about gender-neutrality, mid-day meals and more
He also spoke about a recent order by the state's child rights panel, which directed the government to turn all single-sex schools in the state to co-educational institutions
Addressing a press conference, General Education Minister of Kerala V Sivankutty gave a statement on Wednesday, August 3, that the state government has not taken any decision to impose any specific dress code on school children. The Minister's words come after a raging debate over the implementation of gender-neutral uniforms in the state's schools.
Minister Sivankutty clarified, "A uniform that is generally acceptable and comfortable for children to wear is something that is recognised in society. Gender-neutral uniforms have been voluntarily implemented by the management in certain schools and have been wholeheartedly welcomed by the public and the media."
"It is understood that there are no complaints either from children or from parents in those schools that have implemented such a decision. But the government is not insistent in implementing this. We have not taken the decision to impose any specific uniform code in schools," the Minister added, as per a report by PTI.
However, the Minister admitted that the concept of gender-neutrality was being widely debated in the state. And keeping this in view, the government has decided to conduct gender auditing of school textbooks in Kerala.
V Sivankutty also spoke about a recent order by the state's child rights panel, which directed the government to turn all single-sex schools in the state to co-educational institutions. He said that the LDF government has already converted 21 educational institutions into mixed schools after it came to power.
"Those schools, which apply for the co-education status with the consent of parent-teachers' association and the respective local bodies, would be made mixed institutions after conducting necessary inspections there," he said. As per the PTI report, there are a total of 381 single-sex girls/boys' schools in the state, including 138 in the government sector and 243 in the aided sector at present.
Various other issues related to education were also discussed by the Minister. He informed that the first-year Higher Secondary classes would begin on August 25, after the seat allotment process was completed. The allotment process starts on August 5, 2022. V Sivankutty also said that the government has decided to conduct the school youth festival for five days from January 3, 2023 in Kozhikode.
Next, the Minister spoke about the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. He said that there was a delay in receiving the central allocation for the implementation of this scheme for the current academic year, as a result of which the state government has allotted Rs 126 crore from its budget for the purpose.
The Minister also informed that the government has decided that mobile phones will not be allowed in school campuses and classrooms any more, since online classes are over and regular classes have resumed. He urged teachers and parents to pay more vigil against the indiscriminate usage of mobile phones among children as it would cause them health and behavioural issues, as per PTI.