In this photo taken on July 8, 2021, trans students attend their class at the first government-funded school for trans women in Multan. (Photo by SHAHID SAEED MIRZA / AFP via Getty Images)
Pakistan opened its first government-funded school for trans students run by trans teachers.
The school opened earlier this month in the Pakistani city of Multan in the Punjab region. According to Associated press, the school welcomed 18 students to the school on the first day of classes, with more expected to register at a later date.
The curriculum was developed for grades 1-12 with teachers from the trans community at the helm, according to the South China Morning Post. The school also offers afternoon classes and vocational training.
Murad Raas, Punjab’s provincial minister for school education, shared photos from the school’s opening day on Twitter. He wrote that the government has “provided them [students] with all that is necessary for schooling ”.
First day of school for transgender people by the Punjab School Education Department. We provided them with everything needed for schooling. Dr Aithesham Secretary School South Punjab and his team did a great job. TransEducation is the program. pic.twitter.com/pTZkfKEOYX
– Murad Raas (@DrMuradPTI) July 8, 2021
The government of Pakistan has also welcomed the opening of the historic Multan school. He wrote on Twitter: “It will not only educate transgender people, but also increase their livelihoods and business opportunities.”
The first public school for transgender people was opened in Multan. This will not only educate transgender people, but also increase their livelihoods and business opportunities.#EducationForAll pic.twitter.com/7F8dq64GDS
– Government of Pakistan (@GovtofPakistan) July 9, 2021
Pakistani Information Network Geographic news indicated that the school was part of a government program called TransEducation.
the Associated press reported that trans people are “seen as outcasts” by many communities in Pakistan, especially in “conservative areas” of the country. The outlet added that trans people are “often sexually abused, assaulted and even murdered”, and many avoid attending educational institutions to “avoid discrimination”.
Ayesha Mughal, a trans activist, told Associated press that the community is “grateful” to the government for opening the school and “providing free education to our community”. Mughal also tweeted about the momentous occasion.
“Today I am so happy, proud and emotional at the same time,” Mughal wrote.
Today, I am so happy, proud and emotional at the same time. First day of school for transgender people in Multan. All the best for the effective implementation of this great initiative by Education Dept South Punjab 👏 @hecpkofficial @FBISEOfficial @EduMinistryPK pic.twitter.com/XF7iEkw5Pz
– Aisha Mughal (@_aishamughal) July 7, 2021
Alisha Sherazi, a teacher at the school, said Geographic news the opening of the institution is a “great day” for the community as well as a “great day in Pakistan’s history”. Another teacher said that educators at the school can “understand” students “as we are from their community”.
“We can better guide and teach them compared to people in the general population,” the teacher said. Geographic news.
Baby Doll, a student enrolled in the school, said in an interview with the South China Morning Post that she feels “really comfortable” at school because she is surrounded by “people from our community”.
“The boys teased us and misbehaved,” Baby Doll explained. “They never recognized that we were their classmates.”
She continued, “Even the behavior of our teachers and other school staff was quite upsetting.
“We realized after coming to this school that a good decision was made for us.”
Pakistani government officials have pledged to crack down on widespread transphobic violence in the country.
Last year, Ejaz Alam Augustine Talking, Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs in the Punjab, said the local government would introduce a historic “protection bill” to defend the community.
He said the state would ensure “protection of the transgender community” and asked the community to nominate representatives for the discussions.
“The government is taking all possible measures for a peaceful environment throughout the province,” he added.