For the first time, a government-backed public school is going to be set up for transgender people in Pakistan. The government of the Punjab announced the decision to establish the school in the province.
“The government has decided to open separate schools in the Punjab province. The first of this kind will be established in Multan city, some 350 kms from Lahore, soon,” Punjab Education Minister Dr Murad Raas. Apart from this, the government will take steps for creating provisions of education and jobs to the transgender community, he said.
The government took the decision after frequent complaints from the transgender community that the attitude of students of regular schools towards them is “insulting”.
While it's the first of its kind initiative undertaken by the government, it certainly not the first school for transgender community in the country. In 2018, an NGO opened the country’s first educational and vocational training institute for the transgender community here.
The private school 'The Gender Guardian' for the transgender community in Lahore offers 12 years of academic education from the primary level to higher secondary level with 15 faculty members. Of the 15 teaching staff, three are from the transgender community.
The school offers vocational courses like technical education, fashion designing, beautician and hair styling courses, graphic designing, computer and mobile repairing among others.
Transgender people often face discrimination in every sector in the country. Disappointed at the government’s approach, a Lahore High Court (LHC) judge recently directed the Punjab chief secretary to strictly implement the Transgender Persons (protection of rights) Act 2018 in letter and spirit by not allowing the departments to discriminate among male, female and transgender persons. "This section of society is still treated as less equal or non-existent,” the court said
Justice Faisal Zaman Khan, on a petition by a transgender person against the rejection of his application for the post of an Urdu lecturer, observed that in a conservative society “like ours”, the rights of transgender people have been recognised by the Supreme Court as well as the LHC in their verdicts upon which a comprehensive legislation has also been made to give them equal rights.