ISLAMABAD: The Punjab government, in collaboration with the private sector, is planning to open schools for transgender community in each district of the province and registration for this purpose is underway.
A school for transgender community is already established in the southern district of the province, Multan, in which 18 students are enrolled.
The school offers education from Nursery to Intermediate level (1-12 grade).
Alisha Sherazi, herself a transgender, has ventured to open the school for the community and hopes the number of students will grow in the coming days.
Alisha, who has done M.Phil in International Planning & Management from Bahauddin Zakariya University of Multan, said it was her dream come true to offer education opportunities to the members of her community by setting up a “school for transgender” as they don’t find a friendly, supportive environment for education in schools.
The school will not only educate them but will also help them become a useful and productive members of society, said Alisha adding, in ordinary schools, transgender students are often teased, taunted and discriminated not just by students but also by teachers and staff members. We are offering all facilities and education-friendly environment that ordinary students enjoy in schools,” said Alisha.
She also thanked the Punjab government for registering the school and hoped such schools will be set up in other cities also.
Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas earlier in a statement said the government could not deny education to transgenders in any way. “This is going to be our first school and such schools will be set up in all districts of the province,” he said.
The minister said the government decided not to enroll members of the transgender community in regular schools because of some reservations about the behaviour of other students.
Raas said separate schools are needed for the community because the attitude of students in schools is often insulting towards the community.
Registration of such schools was in progress, he added.
After intermediate education, these students will be sent to institutions where they will be given training in cooking, beautician courses and tailoring, said Alisha. In this way, the school will not only help them get education but it will also empower them to find their place in society, she said.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, there are 10,418 transgenders in Pakistan. However, the award-winning transgender social activist and political worker, Nayyab Ali refutes this figure, saying that number alone existed in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. As per our own estimates they are around 500,000 in the country, she said.