Kerala School Leads Way, Adopts Gender-Neutral Salutation Teacher

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Kerala School Leads Way, Adopts Gender-Neutral Salutation 'Teacher'

The Senior Basic School in Olassery village in Kerala's Palakkad district directed its students to address their gurus as 'teachers' and not 'sir' and 'madam'

A school in Olassery village in Kerala's Palakkad district has come up with its own unique way of promoting gender neutrality while addressing a teacher. The school has directed its students to address their gurus as 'teachers' and not 'sir' and 'madam'.

The Senior Basic School accommodates 300 students with nine women teachers and eight male teachers. The school authority believes it is a forward-looking way of addressing the tutors.

As per reports, the move came on the heels of several schools adopting gender-neutral uniforms for students in the state.

Idea Floated By Male Staff Member

According to the school's headmaster, Venugopalan H, the idea to adopt gender-neutral salutation was floated by a male staff member.

"One of our staff members, Sajeev Kumar V, broached the idea of abandoning the practice of male teachers being addressed as sir. He was inspired by the campaign launched by Palakkad-based social activist Boban Mattumantha to do away with the practice of addressing government officials as 'sir'," the headmaster told The Indian Express.

More than 50 per cent of students adopted the new way of salutation while some are taking time, said the principal. Parents have also welcome the move, he added.

'Demand' Not 'Humbly request' Your Services

Venugopalan further explained that the idea was inspired by Mathoor panchayat, 14 km away from the school, which has taken the decision to eliminate practice of "sir" and "madam" in July last year. It had directed the public to address panchayat staff by their designation and encouraged the citizens to demand and not humbly request their services.

Campaign started by Boban Mattumatha

The campaign to drop the colonial salutation was started by Boban Mattumatha, a Palakkad-based social activist who has been fighting for the universal adoption of gender-neutral salutation in applications for government services.

Many schools have come forward to adopt this progressive proposal. However, they are quite apprehensive of dropping the salutation that has been in practice for over decades now. Nevertheless, the preceding proposal of gender-neutral uniforms has instilled confidence in school authorities across the state. So they are willing to take up the proposal of progressive salutation.

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Writer : Shweta Singh
Editor : Palak Agrawal
Creatives : Palak Agrawal

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