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Saturday, January 22News That Matters

In Kerala schools, there are no Sirs or Madams, only ‘Teachers.’

Kerala Palakkad region has advised children to address their teachers as “teachers” rather than “sir” or “madam.” The government-aided Senior Basic School in Olassery town became the state’s first institution to implement sexual equality in teacher addresses. There are nine female teachers and eight male teachers at the school, which has 300 students. Several schools have recently adopted sexual identity uniforms for their students, so this development comes as no surprise.

The concept was first proposed by a male staffer, as per the school’s principal, Venugopalan H. Perhaps one of our employees, Sajeev Kumar V, suggested that we stop addressing male lecturers as sir. He was motivated by Palakkad-based community activist Boban Mattumantha’s fight to end the tradition of addressing public officials as “sir.” A village not too far from the institution was also bringing in similar changes, according to the principal.

In July of last year, the Mathoor village, which is 14 kilometers from the school, decided to stop using the terms “sir” and “madam.” The panchayat’s supervisory board had instructed the people to address village officials by their official titles. According to Venugopalan, the panchayat’s action had an impact on the school. We wondered why we couldn’t make the same shift at our institution to address teachers in a gender-neutral manner. The change was also positively received by the parents. We advised the pupils on December 1 that they should address all male and female teachers as teachers. The kids gradually modified the way they handled the lecturers after initially being inhibited. He claims that no one now addresses a male teacher as “sir.”

The terms sir and madam’ are incompatible with gender equality. Teachers must be addressed according to their job title rather than their gender. Students would benefit from the new method of approaching teachers. Since it would help them become more aware of gender justice. He believes their address is a vestige of the colonial era and should be phased out.

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