In the last two months, sexual harassment cases were reported in over five schools including two premier private institutions in Chennai and police arrested several persons under the Pocso Act prompting the State to take such a move.
However, the government’s move has irked academicians as they say it would create unnecessary confusion and pressurise male teachers.
A senior official from the School Education Department, seeking anonymity, said that recently School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi had mooted the idea to draft a rule to appoint only female teachers in schools including in self-financing institutions, which were catering to educating female students. “Though the aim of appointing female teachers in girls’ schools is at the initial stages, feedback and suggestions will be sought before drafting the rule,” he added.
The official added there are about 15,000 government and government-aided schools exclusively meant for female students in TN. “On an average, about four male teachers work in each school,” he said, adding, that there are only less than 100 private exclusive girls schools across the State.
Opposing the government’s move to appoint only female teachers in girls’ schools, Tamil Nadu Teachers Association President P K Ilamaran said, “With sexual harassment reported in only a few schools, it does not mean that all male teachers would indulge in wrongdoings.
It would be social injustice. There should not be gender discrimination and the government should drop the plan.” Echoing similar views, Tamizhaga Tamil Aasiriar Sangam joint secretary R Dhandapani said, “The government has to ensure that all girl students were protected instead of appointing only female teachers. It will create unnecessary confusion and stress among male teachers. The government should not initiate this move and it will not work out.” DC Elangovan, secretary, Federation of Associations of Private Schools in Tamil Nadu, said that the government’s initiative to appoint only female teachers in girls’ schools should be discussed.