Kerala

Gaining equivalence fighting odds

Thiruvananthapuram

Karthik D. had just completed his Plus One in private mode when is mother passed away. Some other factors also prevented him from completing his Plus Two. He did a few short-term courses in the interim, and it was only three years later when he heard about the Kerala State Literacy Mission’s higher secondary equivalency course that he enrolled for it.

Today, not only has Karthik, a transman, completed the course, along with 17 other people from the transgender community across the State, he has also gained admission to the BA History course at University College here.

Karthik says he always wanted to complete his education, and had shared his interest with other people from his community, particularly Shyama S. Prabha of the State government’s Transgender Cell. So when they informed him of the literacy mission’s course, he grabbed at the opportunity.

Again, it was his community that guided him as he debated which course to opt for in college to attain his dream–the Civil Services.

Karthik did not face financial difficulties during the course—the stipend of ₹1,250 a month from the literacy mission helped. His father and transgender community member Sreekutty Namitha were there to support him.

What is particularly satisfying about completing his Plus Two is that his certificates have his new identity and photograph, unlike his SSLC certificate, says the 22-year-old transman.

For the past month, Karthik has been driving the e-rickshaw of the city Corporation. He hopes he can continue driving it at night after he has completed his college studies. His concern at the moment is how to attend the classes online without a proper mobile phone or laptop. The Transgender Cell, he says, had been distributing equipment for online classes, but his results were not out then.

Along with Karthik, Sreekutty Namitha, Renjini Pillai, and Ishaan K. Shaan have completed the course in Humanities from the district. Their classes were held at SMV School every second Saturday and every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., says course coordinator Shamila R.

Two transgender persons from Kollam, and one each from Thrissur, Kozhikode, and Kannur have completed the equivalency course as part of the Samanwaya continuing education programme which focussed on the community. The maximum number passed from Pathanamthitta–eight. In all, 22 transgender persons had appeared for the examinations.

So far, 39 people from the transgender community have passed the Class 10 equivalency course, while 30 are currently pursuing it. There are 62 transgender persons in the higher secondary equivalency course.

Among the specially trained teachers who lead the Samanwaya programme are three from the transgender community.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 12:41:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/gaining-equivalence-fighting-odds/article32901724.ece

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