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No 'sir' no 'madam': In this Kerala School, teachers addressed only as 'teacher'

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No sir no madam: In this Kerala School, teachers addressed only as teacher
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Palakkad: The government-aided Senior Basic School of Olassery in Palakkad, Kerala, has directed students to address teachers as "teacher" instead of "sir" or "madam", The Indian Express reported. The move intended to introduce gender neutrality in addressing teachers, and the school has become the first in the state to implement such a move.

Olassery school headmaster, Venugopalan H, said that the school implemented the change from December 1. After a bit of difficulty initially, students slowly changed the way of addressing gradually. Nobody calls a male teacher "sir" now, Venugopalan said. The headmaster added that parents also welcomed the move.

Venugopalan said that the idea was put forward by a staff, who was inspired by a Palakkad based social activist Boban Mattumantha's campaign to stop the practice of addressing government officials "sir". A similar change was implemented by Mathoor panchayat, 14 km away from Olassery school. The panchayat stopped the practice of 'sir" or "madam" July last year and directed the public to address officials by their designation, Venugopalan said.

Olassery school has 300 students, with nine female teachers and eight male teachers. The gender-neutral initiative by the school aligns with many schools implementing gender-neutral uniforms.

Meanwhile, activist Boban Mattumantha said that practices promoting gender neutrality must be implemented in schools. Teachers should be addressed by their designation instead of gender. The new change would help students to create awareness about gender justice. The words "sir" and "madam" are against gender justice and are relics from the colonial era, Boban said.

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