Five Hundred Third Gender Students Registered In Class XI According To The Data By WBHSC: This year’s 11th class registration figures show that the long-standing reforms, shyness, and social restrictions on individual sexuality are loosening to some extent. This year, for the first time, the option of ‘Third Gender’ has been given in the gender identity in the registration form of class 11. According to the sources of the Higher Secondary Education Council, more than five hundred students have registered with self-identification by selecting that option.

This year, the registration of eleventh-class students has been done completely online. This is the first time it is online. And in the gender identity column, options for female, male, and third gender are given. More than five hundred students have registered in self-identification without writing either male or female in all three branches – Arts, Commerce and Science. While the number of students registered as the third gender in science and commerce is less than one hundred, the number has reached the threshold of four hundred in arts.

The recognition of the third gender in higher education in the state is long overdue. College-university admission forms have the option to indicate a third gender identity through the ‘Other’ option. Students of the third gender were recognized for the first time in school education at the initiative of the Higher Secondary Education Council (WBHSC). In this context, Higher Secondary Education Council President Chiranjeev Bhattacharya said, “Third gender is legally recognized. Acknowledgment is also in the field of higher education. To recognize that in school education as well, I decided to add ‘other’ i.e. third gender to the gender identity while creating the online registration portal for class XI. With this, we feel we are moving in a positive direction.” Both the higher secondary education council’s move and the students’ response to it are termed ‘revolutionary’ by a large section of the state’s education community. Applauding the educators.

In the words of Purana expert and educationist Narsinghamprasad Bhaduri, “They are being asked to fill the form as the third gender and they are doing it, it is a place of state recognition. Before it had to be hidden or suppressed. This step created a space of liberation. I am very happy and proud that this recognition is coming from the government, especially the government of Bengal.” He said, “Even though they wanted to say it for a long time, they did not have the opportunity. That option came from the side of the state, it is more noble. Five hundred students responded to the initiative and said, ‘I’m a transgender and I’m not ashamed to say it’ – a much more welcoming place. They are able to enter the school with their own identity and reputation, that is the most important thing. After graduation, they will enter the world of work. ‘Not this, not that’ will prove that we don’t go short.

State Syllabus Committee Chairman Abhik Majumdar said, “Looking at our social history, this is a big step. Any marginalized or neglected group that finds a place of central recognition is to be congratulated. I am not aware of such an attitude anywhere else in India. Hence, it is an exemplary step. Efforts should be continued to bring more marginalized sectors and classes to the center in the coming days. So that a kind of equality is created in the field of education. Apart from merit in education, no other field will prevail. That should be the approach. I thank the Higher Secondary Education Council for taking this step.”

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