Balussery School adopts gender-neutral uniforms in Kerala, Muslim groups protest

It is for the first time that a higher secondary school in the government sector has implemented a common uniform for girls and boys.

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NEW-DELHI: Despite protest from various Muslim groups, a government higher secondary school (GHSS) in Kozhikode adopted a gender-neutral uniform for its Class 11 students on Wednesday.

As many as 200 girls and 60 boys of Class 11 at the GHSS, Balussery slipped into blue pants and striped white shirts. The new dress code is an initiative of the school PTA.

School PTA president K Shibu said the school would not compel any student to wear the new uniform, which was introduced to ensure the same level of freedom to both girls and boys. Students are free to use a veil or scarf, he said.

It is for the first time that a higher secondary school in the government sector has implemented a common uniform for girls and boys. Though, some schools in the primary and, upper primary categories elsewhere in the state that have adopted the same in the past.

Announcing the implementation of the gender-neutral uniform, Higher Education Minister Prof R Bindu said the new uniform would boost the confidence of students, irrespective of their gender. “It is quite natural that conservative elements revolt against progressive changes in the society. The gender-neutral uniform would help abolish the separation between males and females and would give a message that all human beings should move ahead in the same direction. When boys have the freedom to choose their dress, girls have to wear a dress to attract others. This is a kind of disparity. The new uniform would help girls move around confidently without worrying about their bodies. The gender-neutral uniform is a step towards great changes,” she said.

However, various Muslim organizations marched in protest to the school, alleging that the gender-neutral uniform was adopted without proper deliberations among parents. The protest was taken out under the leadership of the Sunni Students Federation, an organization affiliated with the Sunni faction led by Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musliyar.

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