Kerala Refrains From Adopting Gender Neutral Titles For Teachers In School
Once again, the Department of General Education in Kerala has made a decision not to adopt gender-neutral titles for teachers within the school premises. This comes after the Kerala Child Rights Commission urged the administration to use the inclusive term 'teacher' regardless of the gender of the staff. During the meeting led by the General Education Director, it was determined to maintain the established practice of addressing instructors, a stance supported by the teachers' union. The administration will communicate its position on this matter to the Commission in the interim.
In a noteworthy move, the Commission had previously chosen to promote gender equality in public schools, discontinuing the use of 'sir' and 'madam' to address teachers. The Commission directed the General Education Department to take steps towards adopting the general term 'teacher' for addressing individuals on school premises.
A similar approach was undertaken by the Senior Basic School in Olassery, situated in the Palakkad district of Kerala. The school, with about 300 students and a teaching staff comprising nine women and eight men, decided to discontinue the use of 'sir' and 'madam' starting from December 1, 2021. Instead, students were instructed to address their teaching faculty simply as 'teacher.'
This shift in addressing teachers was initiated by a staff member named Sanjeev Kumar, who was inspired by the advocacy of social activist Boban Mattumantha. Mattumantha has been promoting gender-neutral titles for government officials, advocating for the abandonment of the traditional 'sir' and 'madam' labels. Sanjeev's proposal gained support from fellow teachers and the staff council, ultimately receiving approval for implementation. According to the school's principal, H. Venugopalan, this change reflects a broader movement towards inclusive language and breaking away from traditional norms.