Course on sex education triggers criticism from alumni, faculty in Coimbatore college

Representative image

Representative image
| Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Alumni members and a section of faculty of Kongunadu Arts and Science College, Coimbatore, have raised objections to inclusion of an elective titled SOGIESC (SOGIESC – Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics) Studies replacing ‘Women’s rights’ in the list of non-major electives, from 2024-25.

The college is learnt to be looking forward to getting the approval of the Boards of Studies later this week, under government-aided and self-financing streams.

The alumni have reasoned out that any paper related to (or) that focusses on sex education needs to be introduced very cautiously and after ensuring the dire need and necessity of the same as the contents of the paper may have serious consequences/impacts on the young minds.

SOGIESC Studies refers to LGBTQIA+ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex and many other forms such as asexual, non-binary and pansexual.

UGC / Higher Education Departments of State and Central Governments including TASNSCHE/ Bharathiar University have not prescribed and made mandatory these type of LGBTQ+ contents to be taught to the students, the alumni and the faculty have said in separate representations to the college management.

They have sought intervention by Bharathiar University.

Responding to the objections, College Principal M. Lekeshmanaswamy said the course was proposed in the Curriculum Development Committee meeting on January 23, 2023, with acceptance of all HODs.

No objections were raised by the HODs, both aided and self-financing and they were part of the deliberations.

Further, in the Academic Council Meeting on June 13, it was recommended by experts that SOGIESC course could be included form academic year 2024-25 after preparation of the study material.

Kongunadu Arts and Science College was one of the most inclusive campuses supporting transgender individuals in education and employment. Scholarships, free seats, employment and safe spaces were being created.

Kongunadu Arts and Science College serves as a role model for other educational institutions and helps raise awareness about the importance of LGBTQIA+ inclusion in academia, he added.

A gender neutral washroom was constructed for the benefit of transgender persons and was inaugurated on July 16, 2023.

The Supreme Court and High C rulings have underscored the importance of recognising and protecting rights of individuals with diverse SOGIESC identities.

The Tamil Nadu government has informed the Madras High Court that laws to protect rights of these community members would be announced and put into force, the Principal said, requesting the alumni and the opposing faculty to furnish any notification or circular from higher authorities that prohibits such a course from being offered to students as an elective.

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