In a First of Its Kind Move, Kerala School Introduces Gender-Neutral Uniforms

Valayanchirangara Government Lower Primary School introduced a 3/4th shorts and a shirt as uniform for all students.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Students from Kerala's&nbsp;Valayanchirangara Government Lower Primary School.</p></div>

While androgynous clothing might be getting more and more fashionable by the day, a school in Kerala is doing its part to welcome gender-neutral clothing. A lower primary school in Kerala recently introduced gender-neutral uniforms for their students, and hopefully set the ball rolling for other schools to follow suit.

Valayanchirangara Government Lower Primary School, located in Ernakulam district recently announced that it would introduce a gender-neutral uniform for all students. The school has a strength of about 754 students who will now wear a 3/4th shorts and shirt to school, irrespective of their gender
"We got the backing of the students and their parents. We wanted all the students to have the same uniform so that they could enjoy the freedom of movement. This was first introduced in the pre-primary classes of around 200 students. It was a big hit which gave us confidence to implement it for all other classes."
Vivek V, school PTA President in a statement to PTI.

The plans for having a gender-neutral uniform were first discussed in 2018, and were also introduced for the lower primary section. As soon as the lockdown opened, the new policy was extended to other sections as well.

V Sivankutty, the General Education Minister also took to Twitter to congratulate the school for such a progressive step. "Ideas of gender justice, equality and awareness will be emphasised during curriculum reform. But these lessons need not be restricted to textbooks. Admirable move by Valayanchirangara LP School. Students of all genders will now wear the same uniform here - short pants & shirts," he wrote.

K P Suma, the headmistress of the school revealed the benefits of this new uniform and how the students had taken a liking to it. She also mentioned that girls will now find it more comfortable to participate in extra-curricular activities.

Vidya Mukundan, a Kochi-based designer and aspiring filmmaker spoke about the design ideas and how the uniform came to be and said, "My friend, Binoy Peter, who was the academic chairman and the PTA president of the school in 2018, told me about the decision to implement a gender neutral uniform for the children. We later discussed the matter with the teachers, and students and designed this uniform."

"Girls told us that they feel very comfortable with the new uniform. This was initially implemented among the pre-primary students. Later, after considering the positive response from the parents and the teachers, the school introduced it to the other classes."
Vidya Mukundan, Designer, in a statement to PTI.

The school itself has been doing very well in the past five years as enrollment only seems to be increasing, and its progressive methods are due to be given credit for this. With 609 in the 2015-16 academic year, enrollment increased to 681 students in 2018 and currently it consists 754 students.

A senior official from the education department also lauded the school's decision and spoke about how it is their goal to make gender-neutral clothing the norm. They also mentioned that even though one school has implemented this rule, there is no definite law being discussed with regards to this.

(With inputs from PTI).

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