No more offensive words in schools; Govt to ban ‘poda’, ‘podee’

School reopening
The ban is being implemented following certain complaints that the Chief Minister received. Photo: Nikhilraj P/Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Now teachers should think twice before addressing students using crude Malayalam words ‘poda’ and ‘podee’, even on lighter occasions. They may have to face penal action as the Government is set to introduce a ban on even such slightly offensive words in educational institutions to set them as a role model to tomorrow’s citizens

A direction has come to the effect that teachers should be restrained from using ‘poda’ and ‘podee’ to address students in schools. And the State Government is moving towards banning their use in schools too. The reason for the change is to further position teachers as real role models before the students.

Classrooms, which resonate with students’ clitter clatter and naughtiness, sometimes witness the calls ‘poda’ and ‘podee’. They come as chaste commandments, and sometimes in a lighter vein and with love.

However, the Education Department has issued a direction banning their use in the classrooms in the Thiruvananthapuram district.  In the coming days, it will be made applicable in other districts too. The ban is being implemented following certain complaints that the Chief Minister received. Though the measure is being welcomed, teachers have their own apprehensions. Students also feel that the calls of ‘eda’ and ‘poda’ in Malayalam are not as bad as they are made out to be.

Earlier, the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights issued a direction to do away with the 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.

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.

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