Welcome Move: Kerala Higher Education Dept Grants Reservation For Transgender Students In Colleges
In a move that may be considered as a progressive step towards inclusive education, Kerala government’s Higher Education Department on July 3 has sanctioned two additional seats for transgender students. This move makes all transgender people, who fulfil the admission qualifications, eligible for reservation across all universities and courses in Kerala. This step came after the state’s Social Justice Department had issued a special order recommending reservation of seats for transgender students.
Kerala transgender students to get reserved seats
Under this new step, the department also directed all institutions to ensure that the transgender students are not discriminated against in any manner. The government order cited that “due to societal issues these students often have to discontinue their studies or to join other academic institutions after an academic year or after the admission process is closed”.
Hence, the primary purpose of this move is to provide better opportunities to members of the transgender community and aid their inclusion into the mainstream society. According to NDTV, the order has been issued to Director of Collegiate Education and registrars of universities in the state.
According to The Hindu, the Social Justice Department sprung into action when State Transgender Justice Board brought to the department’s attention the plight of transgender students while seeking college admissions. The Transgender Board comprises representatives from different transpersons groups. The Social Justice Department has also initiated a scheme which provides scholarships for transgender students in government-aided, state government or self-financing schools from Class 7 onwards.
First state to come up with a Transgender Policy
Kerala in 2015, became the first Indian state to unveil a Transgender Policy which is aimed at empowering the transgender community. The state did not stop there; it also brought a slew of measures like providing shelters to transgenders who enrol themselves with the state’s Literacy Mission. Hindustan Times reported that the Mission after surveying 918 transgender persons, had found that over 50 % dropped out at some point, either in primary or secondary education.
This move of the government has been lauded by many including one Malayali LGBTIQ organisation named ‘Queerala’ who took to Facebook and wrote:
Higher Education Department of Kerala issues a GO(Govt Order) asking all Higher Educational Institutions in the state to…
Hindustan Times quoted activist Raga Ranjini as saying, “This will empower transgender students to conquer many heights. Often they are forced to discontinue their studies midway. It will also help them be open about their identity and rub shoulders with everyone”.
The Logical Indian Take
Kerala has always been in the forefront when it comes to embracing the transgender community. However, being a transgender is still considered a taboo in the society. They face many challenges and have a long way to go before the society treats them without prejudice.
The Logical Indian appreciates the Kerala govt’s efforts towards the empowerment of the transgender community.