Status report on caste discrimination in central universities soon

Status report on caste discrimination in central universities soon

Status report on caste discrimination in central universities soon
Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar will take stock of the measures taken so far by central universities to ensure that their students do not face discrimination on the basis of caste, community, religion or gender.

A status report on the issue will be tabled at a meeting of vice-chancellors to be held at the Banaras Hindu University. The HRD minister has convened the meeting to review the functioning of the central varsities.

This comes about seven months after Javadekar’s predecessor Smriti Irani, who is now minister for textile, came down heavily on the vice-chancellors who had not set up an equal opportunity cell, despite being made mandatory in 2012 by the university grants commission.

Smriti had called the meeting in February amid students’ protests in different parts of the country against Rohith Vemula’s suicide at the Hyderabad University. According to the UGC (Promotion of Equity in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations 2012, all universities have to appoint an ombudsman to look into the complaints of students, faculties and other staff facing discrimination.

Separate guidelines issued by the higher education regulator requires all universities to set up an equal opportunity cell. At the February meeting, however, it was discovered that not a single central university had appointed an ombudsman. While only eight of the 46 central varsities were then found to have set up cells for addressing grievances of the students, just 19 of them had set up equal opportunity cells.

“The minister will review the status of the steps taken by these universities towards setting up of equal opportunity cells, appointment of anti-discrimination officers and other grievance redressal mechanism. The ministry had directed all the vice-chancellors in the last meeting for implementation of all these requirements without any further delay,” sources told DH.
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