In a move aimed at reducing discrimination against Northeast students, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has appealed to universities to include the history and unique culture of the Northeast in the higher education curriculum.
A delegation of students from the Northeast had submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister about problems being faced by them while studying in various institutions of the country, after which the commission had asked for measures to sensitise people.
Also, a task force constituted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to promote educational opportunities and the welfare of students from the Northeast, had made similar suggestions.
The task force, in its report, had recommended that the curriculum should be modified to include novels or short stories from Northeast India in the English literature department of universities.
It had also recommended that the history of the Northeast, from the pre-colonial era to the Indian independence should be taught at the school, graduate and post-graduate level.
It had also asked for the incorporation of information in the university curriculum about individuals from the Northeast who had participated in anti-colonial uprisings as well as in the freedom movement.
Educational trips that require students from different parts of the country to spend some time in Northeast India and regular cultural exchanges between institutions in the Northeast and other areas so that students understand the culture of the Northeast were some major suggestions that the task force had made, the UGC said.
UGC deputy secretary Shakeel Ahmad, in a recent correspondence with universities, has appealed for steps to implement the above recommendations.
Speaking with Newsline, Peimingam A Zimik, the former president of the Naga Students Union of Pune, described the UGC’s resolve as a great step that would curb discrimination faced by students from the area. “Lack of awareness about history and culture is one of the main reasons that the youth from our region are targeted during their stay in other parts of the country. These incidents will come to an end if education is used as a tool to spread awareness and understanding,” he said.