Representational Image | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led UDF opposition on Monday contended in the Kerala assembly that the gender neutral views in the ruling Left front's proposed new education policy will result in "negation of religion" and "sexual anarchy", while the LDF said nothing has been decided and everything was up for discussion.
Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a key ally of the Congress-led UDF opposition, said the proposed new education policy and the gender neutral views in it will create "gender confusion" among children and the general public.
"The education policy aims to bring in gender equality and rational thought. That cannot be allowed at state expense. It will lead to negation of religion. Therefore, it has to be removed from the policy," IUML MLA N Samsudheen claimed in the assembly.
"We do not need gender equality, but need equal opportunities. The gender neutral views will lead to sexual anarchy and that cannot be permitted in education. They (government) are trying to create gender confusion among the children and the public," Samsudheen further claimed.
He alleged that the state government was trying to create a "genderless" society.
The IUML legislator was also of the view that having mixed benches and mixed hostels will also create problems and gender-neutral uniforms cannot be imposed upon girls.
He demanded that the government withdraw these measures from its education policy.
Samsudheen, who was of the view that gender is not a social construct and was assigned at birth, said the state government's policy will destroy the culture of Kerala.
"Gender is decided by birth and not by our feelings," he said and alleged that the state government was trying to sneak "liberal agendas" into the field of education through its policy.
Refuting the allegations and contentions of the IUML MLA, state Public Education Minister V Sivankutty said that nothing has been decided by the government and all these issues are up for public discussion and debate.
He said that the government has not imposed gender-neutral uniforms or mixed benches or mixed hostels.
"The uniforms to be worn are decided by the school management in consultation with the parents and the local self-government institutions. We have not imposed any gender-neutral uniforms," he said.
The minister further said that gender was a social construct, while sex was decided at birth and children need to understand that.
He further said that government had no intention of bringing in "negation of religion" and it only wanted secularism.
Secularism should not be confused with negation of religion, the minister said.
He also said that the reforms suggested by the government in the field of public education were in keeping with the National Education Policy-2020 which has directed changes in education policies across the state.
IUML legislator M K Muneer had in July criticised the state government's purported gender-neutral policy with regard to schools and uniform worn by students.
When the Balussery government girls higher secondary school in Kozhikode had implemented the gender-neutral uniform for its students in December last year, a section of people under the collective of a Muslim coordination committee had staged a protest-march to the institution against the new unisex uniforms.
They had contended that the decision amounted to insulting the modesty of women and that it was part of "imposing liberal ideology" among students.
Nearly a dozen schools in Kerala had already shifted to gender-neutral uniforms at that time.