Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 3 (PTI) Amidst raging debate on the implementation of gender-neutral uniforms in state schools, the Kerala government on Wednesday made it clear that it has not taken a decision to impose any specific dress code upon children.
A uniform that is generally acceptable and comfortable for children to wear is something that is recognised in the society, General Education Minister V Sivankutty said here.
Stating that the concept of gender neutrality is something that is being widely debated in Kerala, he said it has been decided to conduct gender auditing of textbooks in the state.
Gender-neutral uniforms have been voluntarily implemented by the management in certain schools and have been wholeheartedly welcomed by the public and the media, he said in a press meet.
It is understood that there are no complaints either from children or from parents in those schools that have implemented such a decision, the minister said.
"But, the government is not insistent in implementing this. We have not taken the decision to impose any specific uniform code in schools," Sivankutty said.
With regard to a recent order by the state child rights panel directing the government to turn all single-sex schools in the state to co-educational institutions, he said the LDF government has already converted 21 educational institutions into mixed schools after it came to power.
Those schools, which apply for the co-education status with the consent of parent-teachers' association and the respective local bodies, would be made mixed institutions after conducting necessary inspections there, he said.
At present, there are a total of 381 girls/boys schools in the state including 138 in the government sector and 243 in the aided sector.
The minister said the first-year Higher Secondary classes would begin on August 25 in the state after completing the allotment procedures which would begin on August 5.
Due to the delay in receiving central allocation for the implementation of the mid-day meal scheme in schools for the year 2022-23, the state government has allotted Rs 126 crore from its budget for the same, he said.
Sivankutty also said it has been decided to conduct the school youth festival for five days from January 3, 2023 in Kozhikode.
As the online classes were over and the regular classes were resumed in the state schools from this academic year, it has been decided at the government level that the children need not to bring mobile phones anymore in the school campuses and classrooms, he said.
The minister also urged teachers as well as parents to pay more vigil against the indiscriminate usage of mobile phones among children as it would cause them health and behavioural issues.