Mixed classrooms against our culture, says IUML leader

Abdurahiman Randathani, State Secretary of Indian Union Muslim League | Photo: Manorama

Kannur: Ideas of mixed classrooms and gender neutrality are against our culture, remarked State Secretary of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) Abdurahiman Randathani on Tuesday while airing his opposition to the proposed changes in school curriculum. He also pointed out children are being taught about masturbation and homosexuality in the name of sexual education. He was addressing a protest rally by the United Democratic Front in Kannur.

“In any given college, 70-80 percent students are girls. They have gone leaps and bounds ahead in terms of education, but they achieved so much not because they sat with boys. The claim is that if a boy and a girl are made to sit together that will bring great changes in the field of education. But listen to what topics they are teaching – masturbation and homosexuality?", he said.

However, after his speech created an uproar, Randathani explained that he was only commenting about the flawed curriculum reform. He also added that he doubted whether the government's move was based on some ideological agenda.

Samastha's stand
Reaffirming its opposition, Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama, the council of Sunni scholars, on Tuesday said that it is against gender neutrality because the concept “is against our culture”.

Samastha Secretary Umar Faizi Mukkam on Tuesday claimed that it opposition was not just a matter of religion. He added that Samastha has faith in the Chief Minister's clarification that the State Government was not looking to impose any change based on gender neutrality.

Umar Faizi also said a change in school timings would affect the religious studies in madrasas. “Samastha does not interfere in politics. We welcome the government's clarification over change in school timings,” he said.

“We want everyone to live in harmony and this is necessary especially when fascism is taking a hold at the Centre. Everyone will have to suffer the consequences, if the agitation against the Uniform Civil Code Bill weakens,” he added.

Government's stand
A day earlier, Education Minister V Sivankutty had said in the Assembly that the government had not taken any decision on gender neutral classrooms and uniforms.

Nonetheless, the minister stuck to the LDF stand that gender is a mere social construct.
The minister further said that no decision has been taken yet over mixed seating and mixed hostels in educational institutions. 

“All states are developing curriculum frameworks. No child should be discriminated against on the basis of education or gender. Also there is no need for any concern that the protection and consideration extended to women would be lost due to gender neutrality. Secularism does not mean denial of religion. The government has no intention to hinder religious studies," the minister told the Assembly.

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