Stating that unsafe campuses for women goes against the spirit of the ‘Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao’ drive launched by the government, University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Ved Prakash has written to all educational institutions asking them to ensure that campuses are safe for “all students, especially women”.
The UGC has also asked educational institutions across the country to appoint gender champions — students responsible for spreading the message of gender parity — to promote gender equality.
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“Of late, some unfortunate incidents, which are not in conformity with the spirit of the measures suggested, have come to the notice of the UGC…. Instances like these… discourage women students in a majority of cases from pursuing higher studies. This is against the spirit of the Beti Bachao-Beti Padao drive…,” stated the communication.
“I would therefore request you to personally ensure that your campus is free of any such incident and the environment is safe for all students, especially girls,” it said.
Earlier, detailed guidelines on this issue were prepared by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and sent to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The MHRD has now issued guidelines to all vice-chancellors through the UGC, directing them to set up the gender clubs accordingly.
According to the instructions, gender champions can be both boys and girls above 16 years and who are enrolled in educational institutions. A minimum eligibility criterion too has been prepared for a student to be selected.
The students shall be selected by the head of the institution in consultation with student representatives. The UGC has also asked institutions to organise formal training for the students, to teach them about gender stereotypes, various forms of gender-based discrimination, gender equality, legislations and life skills among other things.