As more of the world’s population does away with gender roles and breaks the shackles of gendered clothing, some Indian schools are paving the way by introducing these concepts early on. While the dress code for teachers in Kerala has recently been in focus, a lower primary government school in the state has set an example by adopting gender neutral uniform for its students. This means that the same uniform is to be used for all students, irrespective of gender. News agency ANI reported that the practice has been adopted at a school in Valayanchirangara in Ernakulam district. The gender neutral uniform policy was introduced in 2018 by the then headmistress of the school, C Raji. The uniform consists of shirts and three-fourth trousers. The gender neutral uniforms were supported by ninety percent of the parents as well as the kids, the report quoted Raji as saying. Raji also said that the idea came to her when she observed that girls were facing problems with wearing skirts.
Now, this is not the only school in Kerala with gender neutral uniforms. There are three other schools that have this policy, although one of them is yet to implement it. Onmanorama reported that Ranni Government Lower Primary School in Pathanamthitta district had implemented gender neutral uniforms all the way back in 2014 and the same has been followed at Karyambadi Government Lower Primary School in Wayanad since 2018. The Pilicode government school in Kasargod had made a similar decision two years ago but could not implement it due to Covid-19 related hassles.
Kochi: A Kerala govt primary school in Valayanchirangara, Ernakulam district has introduced gender-neutral uniformDecision was implemented in 2018. It made the children confident; the idea is boys & girls should have equal freedom: Suma KP, Headmistress in-charge (19.11) pic.twitter.com/gZWgRft0dM
— ANI (@ANI) November 20, 2021
Recently, the dress code for teachers was discussed in the state when Higher Education Minister R Bindu said that the practice of imposing sari on teachers is not conducive to Kerala’s progressive attitude. Bindu said one’s choice of dressing is an entirely personal matter and no one has the right to criticise or interfere in another’s sartorial choices. The Higher Education department issued a circular in this regard after complaints came from many teachers that several institutions in the state continue to practice such policing. “The government has already made clear its stance in this regard multiple times. Teachers have every right to dress as per their comfort in Kerala regardless of the kind of institutes they work at. This practice of imposing sari on our teachers is not conducive to Kerala’s progressive attitude," Bindu said in a statement.