Kochi

Govt school's gender-neutral uniform leaves students a happy lot

Changing a paradigm: The school has introduced gender-neutral shorts and shirt to facilitate easy movement and challenge the idea that girls can only wear skirts.

Changing a paradigm: The school has introduced gender-neutral shorts and shirt to facilitate easy movement and challenge the idea that girls can only wear skirts.  

Valayanchirangara LP school set to alter idea that govt. schools are not sought after

A group of girls in the fourth standard at the Valayanchirangara Government Lower Primary School is elated with their new uniform – their bulky skirts have given way to knee-length shorts with the school rolling in a unisex uniform this academic year.

In an initiative that is unique for a government school, gender-neutral shorts and shirt was introduced for all classes to facilitate easy movement and challenge the idea that girls can only wear skirts. “This is particularly convenient for girls who can play easily now,” said Raji C., headmistress.

“We were initially worried about the reaction from parents who might want their girls to continue wearing skirts. But most parents have welcomed the idea,” she said. The girls are excited about the pockets in the shorts too. As a trial, gender-neutral uniforms were introduced for the children of the pre-primary section last year.

The 104-year-old school is all set to alter the idea that government schools are not sought after. The number of students has steadily been increasing. While the school’s strength stood at 609 in the 2015-16 academic year, it now stands at 681 students. “We have had 40 new admissions for Classes 2 to 4 this year alone though there are several private CBSE schools in the vicinity,” said Ms. Raji.

Run by an all-women team of teachers and other staff, the school introduced a group health insurance policy for the students earlier this year. The Parent-Teacher Association pays the premium.

Despite its popularity, the school has not received the infrastructural support it requires. The teachers do not have a staffroom. A stage outdoors has been functioning as a makeshift classroom after three classrooms were pulled down 18 months ago to construct five new ones with the MLA fund. The construction was stalled after the contractor raised issues of payment.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 10:55:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/gender-neutral-uniform-leaves-students-a-happy-lot/article29122579.ece

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