Kerala government's Higher Education Department has sanctioned two additional seats for admission of transgender students in all courses in universities and affiliated arts and science colleges in the state. The government order, which is being lauded a progressive step towards inclusive education, has come after the Social Justice Department has recommended and forwarded a request for issuing a special order for reserving seats for transgender students.
"Social Justice Department has recommended and forwarded the request for issuing special order for reserving seats for Transgender Students for various courses in Universities and affiliated Arts and Science Colleges," the government order said.
"Due to societal issues", according to the order, "these students often have to discontinue their studies or to join other academic institutions after an academic year or after the admission process is closed".
"In the above circumstances, Government are pleased sanction two additional seats in all courses in Universities and affiliated Arts and Science Colleges exclusively for admitting transgender students subject to the fulfillment of qualification," said the order.
The order has been issued to Director of Collegiate Education and also to registrars of various state universities, including Kerala, Mahathma Gandhi, CUSAT, Calicut, Kannur, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit and Thunchathezhuthchan Malayalam Universities.
Queerala, an organisation of Malayali LGBTIQ people lauded the move as a 'major step towards inclusive education'.
"Higher Education Department of Kerala issues a GO (government order) asking all Higher Educational Institutions in the state to reserve two seats, for all courses across colleges and Universities , for Transgender Students. A few transgender students, who had applied for various courses in Ernakulam Maharajas College, couldn't get through the merit based admission process. They then approached the state Social Justice Department, which along with other departments initiated this major step towards inclusive education," Queerala said in a Facebook post.
The CPI(M)-led Left Democrat Front government had recently decided to provide shelter homes for transgenders who would join the continuing education programme of the state Literacy Mission.
A recent survey conducted by the Mission has found that around 50 per cent members of the transgender community survive on a monthly income of Rs 1,000 or less. While, 28.53 per cent of the surveyed had a monthly income between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000, 19.46 per cent earned between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 a month.
A total of 20.35 per cent of transgenders surveyed were unemployed, and over 30 per cent were engaged in some form of self-employment, according to the survey.
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