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57 transgender students enrol for SSC, HSC exams in Pune division

PUNE This year at least 57 transgender students from the Pune division will be appearing for the Class 10 and Class 12 examination
By Namrata Devikar
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 05:16 PM IST

PUNE This year at least 57 transgender students from the Pune division will be appearing for the Class 10 and Class 12 examination.

Pune division of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) tops the chart across Maharashtra.

The board introduced the ‘other’ section in gender in 2019 and since then, there has been a gradual increase in students filling the forms under this section.

Though the move is bold said activists, it also is a major challenge for these students.

Bindumadhav Khire, director of Bindu Queer Rights Foundation, said that though the number of students is less, they represent that today’s generation is brave to have come out of the closet at this young age.

“However, they are also more vulnerable than others. There is a need to counsel the students and their families and friends. To encourage more students, there should be more inclusive sensitisation of students, teachers and families,” said Khire.

“Though the number reflects a hopeful trend, there still is a long way to go,” he added.

Speaking about the issues of the students who enrol under the transgender section for the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC), Disha Pinky Sheikh, member, Tritiyapanti Kalyankari Mahamandal said that students face tremendous issues.

“In many cases, it is seen that many students are forced by their parents to not accept themselves as transgender while filing the forms. There is a need to counsel parents as well as the students if the number is to be increased,” said Sheikh.

She further added that many students who have left their families and moved to a different city have to face the problem of accommodation.

“There are no hostels for transgender students. And there are also no complaint cells where they can register their grievances. Many face differential treatment at educational institutions. These reasons deter a student from attending schools. If any schemes can help these students, they have to be on an inclusive platform. For that there has to be sensitisation of various stakeholders so that the students don’t face discrimination at any stage,” she said.

She further highlighted that once the student clears Class 12, there should be a few seats reserved for them at the college level.

“Transgender students can take admissions under these seats in a given time. If no students come to take the admission, then the seats can be given to other students. But having such reserved seats can encourage more from the community to complete their higher education,” said Sheikh.

Dinkar Patil, chairman, MSBSHSE, said that a gradual increase in the number of transgender students is a good sign. “There is steady and slow progress in the numbers which is a positive sign. And the majority of these students have filled the forms from regular schools which is also good,” said Patil.

As per the data furnished by the board, only ten transgender students, from HSC and SSC together have filled the Form 17 which is for private candidates across Maharashtra.

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