'No Plans To Impose Gender-Neutral Uniforms': Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

The suggestion in the draft proposal to encourage girls and boys to sit together was also dropped by the government.

Hindi Female

The Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala has decided to go back on its plan to introduce gender-neutral uniforms and seating in schools, after several Muslim organisations, especially the Congress' ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), vehemently opposed the move.

Replying to a submission made by CPI(M) MLA, K K Shailaja, CM Vijayan said in the state Assembly on Wednesday, 24 August, that the government had no plans to introduce gender-neutral uniforms in schools. "The parent teachers association of the schools can take a call on that," he said.


Stating that everyone has the freedom to choose their food, clothing, and beliefs as per their social obligations, he said, "The government wants to ensure such freedom should not be hurt by any kind of extremist stand. Each school can decide on its uniform. The government has not issued a specific directive in this regard. Any attempt to impose a dress code on women would hamper the goal of building a progressive knowledge society," reported The Indian Express.

Govt Also Drops Proposal on Gender-Neutral Seating

In an effort to ensure gender neutrality in schools, the state had made suggestions in its draft education policy that girls and boys would be encouraged to sit on the same bench. The proposal was dropped by the government on Tuesday.

The draft proposals are reportedly being brought in as part of the Centre's National Education Policy and the state's revised syllabus. Introducing gender-neutral uniforms in schools was also a part of the draft.

But ever since these suggestions were made public, multiple Muslim organisations have strongly been opposed to the move, with the general secretary of IULM, PMA Salam, saying that it was "dangerous" to introduce gender-neutral seating, as "boys and girls will lose their focus on education if allowed to sit together." Congress leader K Muraleedharan also said that the move would not ensure gender neutrality.

Slamming the IUML and the Congress, former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader KJ Alphons, meanwhile, said, "The move of the Kerala government towards gender equality is a good thing. Boys and girls will sit together. They don’t need to meet one another as strangers," as per news agency ANI.

The government reportedly had to go back on its plans after AP Aboobacker Musliyar, a prominent leader of the Sunni segment in Kanthapuram and a CPI(M) supporter, expressed apprehensions about the move. He had said that "gender neutrality is un-Islamic."

In recent months, quite a few schools in Kerala had implemented gender-neutral uniforms, and their initiative was welcomed by students and parents alike.

(With inputs from The Indian Express, ANI.)

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Topics:  Kerala   Gender Equality   IUML 

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