Society

Transgenders to be part of RTE quota in private schools

Are things about to get truly better for transgender children in the State? The signs are definitely that they may.

D. Sabitha, secretary, School Education, recently said the State will include the transgender community in the 25 per cent reservation in private schools for economically backward sections, children from the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and orphaned children.

Under the adult and continuing education programme, a pilot project in Salem, Erode, Dharmapuri and Villupuram has been started.

“Rather than starting a separate programme for transgender people, we decided to include them in the regular education programme, promoting inclusive education,” said V. Balaji, director of the State Resource Centre for Adult and Continuing Education.

Mr. Balaji said the adult education programme deploys transgender activists in each of the districts. “Since the transgender association has a census of the number of persons and the literacy levels of the people in their community, it makes things easier for us. We have also trained transgenders to be resource persons,” he said.

Activists say these are all positive steps, but more needs to be done.

Though their inclusion has been mandated by law, transgenders still face practical problems when it comes to enroling in schools and colleges.

In spite of the notification for the inclusive education of transgenders under the Right to Education Act in 2011, so far, not a single transgender has been enroled in schools through the scheme. Problems such as having to use the common toilet with others or even the general lack of sensitivity are among the stumbling blocks being cited by transgender activists.

“Tamil Nadu has always been ahead when it comes to promoting transgender rights. This year, both Anna University and Madras University have allotted seats for transgenders. Encouraging the transgender population to study will help,” transgender activist Stella Mary from Dharmapuri said.

R. Jeeva from the We Community Action Network (We CAN) said, while there were a number of very useful schemes in place, there was a need to make transgender rights part of policy decisions. “So far, there have been no budgetary allocations in educational institutions for transgenders or a separate policy on what happens if they are sexually harassed or ragged,” she said.

Others feel that there is a need for a gender counselling centre. According to transgender activist Priya Babu, “Many transgender students go through harassment including sexual abuse and ragging. With a gender counselling centre, these students will be able to access help readily. Also, if the institution appoints one transgender teaching or non-teaching staff member, the stigma associated with them will also come down.”

Another serious problem that transgender students face is the lack of toilets. “When they are young, transgender students are confused about which toilet they should use, which creates a lot of psychological issues. There has to be a separate toilet for transgender in schools and colleges,” she said.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 6:28:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/chen-society/transgenders-to-be-part-of-rte-quota-in-private-schools/article6391995.ece

Next Story