Punjab govt to open transgender schools in each division: CM

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LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz has announced the establishment of a transgender school at division level and also directed the relevant authorities to provide educational facilities to special children in at least one government school in each district.

These decisions were taken at a meeting held to review proposed school education reforms in the province.

While chairing the review meeting, CM Nawaz said: ‘Schools for transgender [community] will be established at divisional level’.

Interestingly, nine of the 11 divisions in Punjab already had schools for the transgender community in the past. The initiative was taken by the previous PTI government under the supervision of the then Punjab Minister for School Education Murad Raas.

When contacted, Trans Educational School System, Multan, Principal Alisha Sherazi told Dawn that no one from the government had contacted them for the establishment of transgender schools, as such schools already existed in D.G. Khan, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Gujrat, Multan and Bahawalpur.

Only the one established in Lahore was later closed, she added.

Alisha Sherazi, a transgender and a former consultant of UNDP who did her MPhil in Education, Planning and Management from Burhanuddin Zakariya University, explained that three of the schools including D.G. Khan, Multan and Bahawalpur were giving vocational training to members of the transgender community.

Four labs for IT, stitching, cooking and make-up classes were established in those schools, while other schools were focusing on academics, according to the principal.

The government did not have the exact figures of transgender community’s population in the Punjab, Alisha added.

At the meeting, CM Maryam Nawaz directed relevant officials to implement a new comprehensive procedure, in line with the international best practices, for the selection of CEOs, DEOs, and DDEOs in each district.

She also took notice of delay in the delivery of textbooks to schools. However, the officials present at the meeting assured the chief minister that textbooks would be provided to all schools by May. They said the supply of 41 per cent textbooks had already been completed. She was told that from next year, textbooks would be made available at schools by February.

They also presented the CM a new storybook on environmental pollution and climate change for schools.

Minister for School Education Rana Sikandar Hayat, senior minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, information minister Azma Zahid Bukhari, Senator elect Pervaiz Rashid, MPA Sania Ashiq, chief secretary and other relevant officers attended the meeting.

Acknowledgement: Published in Dawn News on 6th April 2024.
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