The Sindh education department has decided to introduce the first-ever ‘transgender education policy’ in the province to facilitate the transgender community to achieve education.
The announcement came after Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah held a three-hour-long meeting with the leaders of the transgender community, including Gender Interactive Alliance’s Bindya Rana, Zehrish Khanzadi, Shahzadi Rai, and Dr Sara Gill of Moorat Interactive Society.
Those members of the transgender community who have not yet completed their education will get a chance to continue their education. It has also been decided that transgender people will have a chance to be recruited as teachers.
In the policy for this particular community, content about them will also be added to the curriculum so the new generation could understand the transgender community. “It will help students to respect and provide a space to these people,” said the minister.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Shah said: “There is no transgender policy anywhere in Pakistan.”
Through the informal education system, a transgender person will be able to complete primary education within two years instead of going through five years of schooling, he added.
“Those who did not get the opportunity to get an education will have the option to get their education now,” Shah said. He said that the provincial government will help this community in the education sector so they could play their due role in society.
After the meeting, Rana informed The Express Tribune that the number of registered transgender persons in Karachi was above 18,000. “Roughly, there are about 40,000 transgender people in Sindh,” Rana added.
Rana further said that the meeting with the education minister was a milestone towards initiating the main objectives for the welfare of the community. “Most of our people cannot continue their education after matriculation,” Rana said, adding that the majority of the community members wanted to get an education.
“But it is not possible for them to continue it because of financial reasons and social taboos,” Shah said that meetings will soon be conducted to discuss transgender education policy. “I hope we will have it by next education year,” he said.
Commenting on the issue, Partab Shivani, the head of Thar Education Alliance, said that the mindset regarding transgender people should be changed. “It’s a really great initiative if education policy for the community is introduced and they are treated as human beings like others,” he added.