Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

'Class X students pass lewd comments when handling class in saree,' says a teacher but officials in TN's Coimbatore insist on sarees 

The G.O. states that government employees are required to wear neat, clean formal attire that is appropriate to the workplace setting.  

COIMBATORE: Teachers in government schools have complained that district school education department officials are not allowing them to wear churidar to school, even though a government order allows them to wear it.

They allege that educational officers are unaware of G.O. 67 which was issued by the Personnel and Administrative Reforms department in 2019, and urged officials to send a circular to chief educational officers educating them about the order.   

The G.O. states that government employees are required to wear neat, clean formal attire that is appropriate to the workplace setting.  Further, it reads, “...To maintain the decorum of the office, while in duty, like saree or salwar kameez or churidar with dupatta in the case of female government servants and, shirts with formal pants or vesti (dhoti) reflecting Tamil culture or any Indian tradition dress, in the case of male government servants,” adding casual attire should be avoided.   

When TNIE asked about the GO with district educational officers, they said they were unaware. Latha (name changed), a teacher in Coimbatore, told TNIE, “A few Class X students passed lewd comments when I was handling class in saree last year and was forced to adjust my saree.  I warned the students, but they did not mend their ways.” 

She added “To avoid such issues, I wore churidar to school and felt comfortable. But the headmaster and other teachers saw me differently. The headmaster warned me not to come to school wearing a churidar as there was no order from the education department to wear a churidar. It indicated his lack of awareness of G.O. 67. Even when I showed the order, he did not accept it saying it did not apply to schools. Due to continuous disputes with him, I have started coming to school in a saree again and face the same problem.”

In September, a teacher from Cuddalore posted a message on social media saying that an educational officer who visited the school asked her “who gave her the right to come to school wearing churidar,” adding that the officer said even PwD teachers cannot wear churidar to school. 

Kala (name changed), a BRTE in Salem school education department, told TNIE, “Earlier, colleagues used to tease me using double entendres when I wore saree to the office and I scolded them. When I shared my experience with a teacher, he said there is indeed a provision for us to wear churidar. Following this, I have been going to the office with churidar for the last two years..” 

She said sometimes higher officers question her about wearing churidar. “I show them the G.O. and they don’t ask about it again,” she added. Tamil Nadu teachers and school protection general secretary R Ramkumar told TNIE, “Many women teachers are facing uncomfortable situations while they are in classrooms.  Due to lack of awareness about the G.O. among officers and teachers, many are hesitant even if they like to wear churidar to work.”  

When contacted, school education director G Arivoli said the order applies to teachers. A senior officer in the district school education department told TNIE that he would soon issue a circular based on the G.O.

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