Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government is to take a call on what the students should address those who teach them.
The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the other day, issued a direction to do away with honorifics ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ in schools, citing the same would amount to gender discrimination. Instead, it wanted the students to address their teachers using the gender-neutral word ‘teacher’ for both males and females.
However, it’s the state government’s prerogative to take a final decision as the matter is a political one.
Earlier, the Commission took the stance that the gender-neutral word ‘teacher’ is better suited to denote the relationship between students and teachers than ‘sir’ and ‘madam’, which acts more as a symbol of authority.
Often the orders of the Child Rights Commission are considered suggestions for governments and other institutions of authority. However, necessary action needs to be taken in orders concerning matters which are apolitical in nature. If the institutions fail to carry out such orders, the Commission is authorized to summon the officials concerned and initiate legal proceedings besides enforcing recovery measures.
But even in the case of independent institutions over which the government doesn’t have any direct control, its nod is required in matters like allocation of funds for the functioning of the commission, creation of new posts, and expenses above Rs 1 lakh other than the amount allocated to the commission.
“The stipulation that all the teachers should be addressed as ‘teacher’ is not an order that should be implemented within a specified period. The Commission hasn’t issued any specific order as to what the students should address their teachers,” stated K V Manoj Kumar, Chairperson, Commission for Protection of Child Rights.