A groundbreaking and optimistic news come from a school in Kerala. The Senior Basic School in Olassery, Palakkad district of Kerala asked has urged its students, to stop addressing their teachers as sir or madam, replacing it with a more gender-neutral term ‘teacher’.
This school in Olassery kerala
with around 300 students, 9 female and 8 male teachers has taken what is described by the local media reports as ‘an unprecedented decision’. As reported by the principal of the Senior Basic School, H. Venugopalan, the idea was put forth by one of the staff members. Inspired by the social activist Boban Mattumantha, who advocates for gender-neutral titles for government officials, suggested Venugopalan that the same practice could be adopted by the school. The idea which the principal personally liked, was further approved by the staff council, making such a radical change possible.
Inspired by this practice, the Mathur gram panchayat in Palakkad also banned the use of ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ to address the panchayat members. Commenting on this decision, gram panchayat president Pravitha Muraleedharan said that it was due time that one does away with the use of sir and madam, which were a legacy thanks to the colonizers.
Another contributor in the series of adopting more gender-neutral measures was taken by the Balussery government girls’ higher secondary school in Kozhikode district by being the first school to implement the unisex uniform. This was warmly welcomed by the students who felt comfortable with this new arrangement. The State has also shown its support in the favor of these gender-neutral norms adopted by the schools. “In general, the state government wants to provide education without any gender bias. The government will encourage such decisions which will help bring in gender justice’, Kerala Education Minister V Shivankutty commented.
With nearly a dozen schools in Kerala shifting towards a more accepting and gender-neutral environment, and a clear positive change in inspiring others too, it is optimistic to say that society has started to change for good.