The proposal to form ‘mother PTAs’, involving teachers and mothers of students in schools, has drawn flak from activists and social workers.
It was part of the draft of the school manual recently released by the Department of General Education. These committees are supposed to help in academic works, study tours, and preparation of mid-day meals. It was mentioned in the 52 nd and 53 rd pages of the draft. The last day to submit changes to it was May 20.
Kozhikode-based social workers, Anoop Gangadharan and his wife, Rekha Das, a lawyer, have written to the department and the Kerala Women’s Commission, pointing out the problems in the proposal.
Ms. Das said in her letter that the proposal was against the interests of women as the explicit intention was to “help prepare mid-day meals for students.” Ms. Das said that this would send a wrong message to the new generation. She pointed out that all parents should share similar responsibilities in academic works, study tours, and preparation of meals.
“The draft reinforces the public perception that compared to fathers, mothers have all the time in the world at their disposal to take care of the food requirements of their children. This will not be a model worth emulation if we are serious about gender equality,” she said. The commission was urged to direct the department to correct the draft to make the PTA fully responsible in the jobs mentioned above.
Mr. Gangadharan said that the commission, however, was not keen on taking a stand on the issue. He was asked by the officials to attend the panel’s ‘mega adalat’ with the complaint. They also asked who was the “other party” in the issue.
P. Sathidevi, Chairperson of the commission, could not be reached for her comments.