How to address teachers? Panel rejects Child Rights Commission order

Assistant Professors
Representational Image. Photo: Manorama/ File Image

Thiruvananthapuram: There is no need for students to compulsorily address those who teach them as ‘teachers’, the Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) monitoring committee has said, while rejecting an order of the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights in this regard.

The Commission earlier issued a direction in January to do away with honorifics ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ in schools, citing that 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, a final call on the matter rested with the government.

Students can address a teacher in any way they like, and there is no need for the government to dole out directions in this regard, the meeting of the monitoring committee, which also included various teachers’ associations, held here on Tuesday decided in unison.

It will also be conveyed to the Commission that the department has not issued any direction that reflects gender discrimination in the matter of addressing teachers.

Earlier, the Commission directed the Public Education Director to issue an order to schools making it compulsory for students to address teachers only as ‘teachers’. The more polite and 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, it said then.

However, General Education Minister V Sivankutty and the teachers’ associations voiced displeasure over the direction, and no further action was taken. When the matter came up for discussion in the QIP monitoring committee meeting, all the participants raised objections in unison.

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