It all began after a teacher working at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan (PSBB) school was booked and arrested following allegations of sexual harassment by students. The appalling incident not only. got the attention of celebrities but also ordinary citizens on social media who stormed the platforms by raising their voices against the issue. Following this, several students from various other institutions also came up with sexual harassment allegations against teachers from their respective schools. Specifically, a commerce teacher from Maharishi Vidya Mandir school in Chennai has been suspended after a flood of sexual harassment complaints against him and has been arrested under the POCSO act on June 8 following an investigation.
As sparks on social media amid questions being raised upon the credibility of schools, the Tamil Nadu government released an SOP for online classes that directed teachers to wear formal outfits for class. The State Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi said that a Visaka committee will be established in all the schools across Tamil Nadu. He also said that appointing only female teachers in girls’ schools is under consideration. “We are only consulting on it as the recommendations have come in", he added.
On speaking to News18 Tamil Nadu, Educationalist Jayaprakash Gandhi has shared his opinion (pros and cons):
What is your opinion on appointing only female teachers at girls’ schools?
There is nothing wrong in appointing female teachers at schools irrespective of government and private sector. But the management should be firm that they don’t suppress the quality of teachers. They should not appoint someone just because she is a woman. If at all, they seem with equal qualification, an appointment can be done. When coming to co-ed schools, balancing the female and male teachers ratio will work out respectively.
Could it result in girl students lacking in gender equality?
TN government schools don’t seem to have ‘only domination’ of male teachers or ‘only domination’ of female teachers. So, the Govt should be keen on balancing the ratio without suppressing the quality. Appointing female teachers alone would not make girl students lack knowledge in gender equality. The ambience and parental support also matter. In the majority, they are able to adapt to the new environment.
What would be the role of the state government in regularization?
The state government is responsible for collecting the ratio of female and male teachers and knowing their performance index. Teachers must be appointed based on their quality of performance. Further, evaluation of teachers is a ‘must’ process that should be done every three years. Both the government and private schools should know their teachers’ performance and get feedback from students and parents accordingly. The female teachers getting appointed at girls’ school should be motivated and provided with proper counseling and evaluated later.
Speaking to News18, a Tamil Nadu teacher (name withheld) said that “just avoiding male teachers at schools can’t be a solution to the problem of sexual harassment against girl children. Rather, the government has to strengthen the laws and legal system to suit the children, motivating sex education in schools, all these can play well against those who misconduct with children. Management should firmly make special inspections for online classes’. However, the government’s strict regulations for online classes will strengthen the secured walls around children, the teacher added.