Use 'teacher', which is more gender-neutral than 'sir' or 'madam': Kerala child rights panel

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Representational Image | Photo: Jayesh P/ Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: All school teachers, irrespective of their gender, should be addressed as 'teacher' instead of 'sir' or 'madam', the Kerala child rights panel has directed.

'Teacher' is a more gender-neutral term than honorifics like 'sir' or 'madam' to address them, the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) said in a recent order.

A Bench, comprising panel chairperson K V Manoj Kumar and member C Vijayakumar, on Wednesday directed the General Education Department to give instructions to use the term 'teacher' in all schools in the State.

The directive was given while considering a plea filed by a person seeking to end the discrimination while addressing teachers 'sir' and 'madam' according to their gender.

The complainant also wanted the teachers to be addressed in a gender-neutral manner.

In its order, the panel said steps should be taken to give a directive in all educational institutions to use the term 'teacher' as it is the suitable word to address them with respect and without gender discrimination.

The honorifics "sir" or 'madam' do not match up with the concept of teacher, it observed.

The term 'teacher' would bring teachers and students closer also, the panel further said, and instructed the Director of General Education Department to submit an action-taken report in this regard within two months.


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