First-ever public school for trans-persons opened

MULTAN: Formal launch of the first-ever public sector school for trans-persons took place here on Wednesday (July 7, 2021). The school is being established by the South Punjab Education Department at Government Girls Comprehensive Higher Secondary School, Gulgasht, under a pilot project ‘Trans-education’.

Talking to Dawn, Education Secretary Dr Ehtasham Anwar said in the first phase, the Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) will be resorted to compensate for the lost schooling followed by formal schooling in phase II with the ultimate goal of mainstreaming of trans-persons.

Mr Anwar said geographical mapping of Multan city was done and three pockets of habitation of trans-persons – Al-Qureshi Housing Scheme, in and around Gulgasht Colony and Vehari Chowk – were identified and the school is close to one pocket. Initially 16 transgender persons got themselves enrolled for the ALP which would be divided in four groups – primary, elementary, secondary, and higher secondary.

“Vocational skills will also be imparted to make them financially independent. Tailoring, dress designing, make-up/beauty parlor services, cooking and such other vocations have been shortlisted for the purpose,” he said. Mr Anwar said classes would be started at 4pm and free books, stationery, uniform and shoes would be provided to students.

A special uniform has been designed besides selecting unisex shoes while free pick and drop service will also be provided with the help of provincial special education department. He said services of educated transgender persons are being hired as faculty.

“Five such persons have already been selected – one of them having an M. Phil degree whereas another is BS psychology,” he said. He said volunteer teachers from the same school would also be teaching the students as and when required. “After this pilot project, we intend to replicate it in the rest of south Punjab from next month,” he added.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2021

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