Valayanchirangara LP, a 104-year-old government primary school in Ernakulam district of Kerala is quite unique, besides the reason it is in the news these days.
An all-woman team of teachers and staff run the school. And now, the school has broken a stereotype by introducing gender-neutral uniform comprising of short pants and shirts.
The girls in this school wore a skirt and a top as a uniform. Over the years, we noticed that the uniform came in the way of the girls participating in sports and even slowed them down at times. We decided to try and change that. It was a difficult task and it took us a while to convince everyone about this change, informs the school’s headmistress C Raji.
Once the recommendation was made to the executive committee, it took them many deliberations to finally implement the new uniform. The school ran a trial run by introducing the uniform in kindergarten and nursery last year. This academic year, the unisex uniform i.e. knee length shorts and shirt has been extended to the girls of all classes i.e. kindergarten till 4.
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Not just the school board, we also had to consider how the parents would react. Surprisingly, they have been very welcoming of this change and that has eased the process for us, says Raji.
The school’s decision seems to be welcomed by the parents considering the school saw 40 new admissions in the current session despite several private CBSE schools in the area, as Raji informs.
When asked how the girls have been reacting to this change, she smiles, “They were most excited about the pockets in their new shorts.”
Well, who better to understand the girl’s plight than an ex-student of the school!
“I take great pride in the fact that I am a product of this school. Many of the staff and teachers here are the ones I grew up with. We know every nook and corner of this school and to be serving as its headmistress for the last ten years makes me extremely happy,” shares a happy Raji.
Valayanchirangara LP may be a century old school but it is definitely progressive in nature!
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)