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Kerala Education Dept. Directs Institutions To Stop Imposing 'Dress Code' On Female Teachers

The department received multiple complaints from teachers with similar experiences. Speaking on the matter, state Higher Education Minister R Bindu said that no one could interfere in another's sartorial choices as it was a personal matter.

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The Kerala Higher Education department, on Friday, November 12, issued a circular clarifying that teachers in the state must not be bound to a particular way of dressing and have the right to dress as per their choice and comfort, The New Indian Express reported.

The circular comes in the wake of the recent report published on November 10.

The media had covered a story of a young lecturer, who had gotten an offer from the College of Applied Science (CAS) in Kodungallur. A month ago, she was told by the college management that she needed to wear a saree to work every day if she wanted to continue working.

Despite having all the qualifications, from clearing the National Eligibility Test (NET), earning an MA in Literature and a B.Ed from two different central universities, her employment was restricted to dressing.

However, there was no hard-and-fast rule for the male teachers and restricted to a specific dress code. Offended by the conditions, the woman refused the offer letter.

Speaking on the matter, state Higher Education Minister R Bindu said that no one could interfere in another's sartorial choices as it was a personal matter.

The department received multiple complaints from teachers with similar experiences. The issue brought attention to several institutions that continue to practice such policing, despite the government's order on May 9, 2014.

"The government has already made clear its stance multiple times. Teachers have every right to dress as per their comfort regardless of the kind of institutes they work at. This practice of imposing sari is not conducive to Kerala's progressive attitude," Bindu tweeted.

The minister said when she taught at the Kerala Varma College in Thrissur, she wore churidars regularly. She said a teacher is bound with various responsibilities, and adhering to certain attire to keep their job was outdated thinking.

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