Though the societal stigma faced by the transgenders every now and then may never come to an end but the State Government of Kerala has taken a first-ever initiative in the history of India. The state government has planned to launch a scholarship for students who belong to Transgender community so as to fund their studies.
The first-of-its kind scholarship initiative in the country has been taken by the Social Justice Department. The students who will be benefitted from this scholarship have been divided into five categories including those in government, aided and self-financing institutes. The department has set aside a sum of Rs 62.5 lakh to be utilised this year under the scheme.
The beneficiary candidate will receive the scholarship amount for 10 months duration in a year. The candidates enrolled in postgraduate, undergraduate and diploma courses will receive Rs. 2,000 per month. Students studying in Class 11 and Class 12 receive Rs. 1,500 while the students from Class 7 to Class 10 will get Rs.1,000.
V N Jithendran, director of Social Justice Department said “Nowhere else in the country have such a scholarship programme instituted for transgender students by a state government. This is to bring down the incidents of harassment against TG students. Students will be required to produce medical certificate and the schools need to identify them. We have to see how it would turn out and cannot predict the nature of response from students.”
Recently the final draft policy for TGs in the state stated key measures that should be undertaken so as to offer quality education to the students who belong to Transgender category. In a recent survey conducted it was found that 58 per cent of transgender students drop their studies much before they have completed their Class 10 education while 24 per cent drop out well before completing ninth grade. The major reasons quoted for the DROP OUT of studies include harassment, gender related negative experiences at school and lack of poverty/social educational quota or reservations.
The Draft Policy further proposes that the educational institutes and universities located within the State should draft a Transgender Policy to check the issues related to gender non-conforming and TG students and establish an anti-discrimination cell to monitor any form of discrimination/harassment.
All in all, the educational institutes and universities must in the near future come out with a solution to mark transgender along with male and female. The school students should be made aware about the Transgenders from the upper primary level itself. All the initiatives should be taken care of by the General Education and Higher Education departments.
In the month of June, Manobi Bandopadhyay was appointed as the India’s first transgender college principal. She took charge of her new responsibility in Krishnagar Women’s College in West Bengal’s Nadia district. In the year 2013, she participated in ‘Bigg Boss Bangla’, the Bengali version of the hit reality TV show ‘Bigg Boss’.