Published: 25th October 2022
UGC frames new guidelines on safety of women in educational institutions
Suggestions and comments are invited by the commission till November 14; a committee set up by UGC to review and update safety guidelines
Considering what is happening with respect to the safety of women students in a number of universities and colleges across the country, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has drafted guidelines for a safe and secure environment for women in Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), stated a public notice issued by the UGC on October 21, 2022
The Commission is also inviting comments and suggestions that can be sent to email@example.com by November 14, 2022. The Public Notice stated that “The UGC is committed to the goal of developing a safe, secure and violence free environment in all the educational institutions across the country. It has been reviewing the safety of the campus communities especially women from time to time and issuing guidelines for the same. In this regard, the UGC again set up a committee in 2022 and tasked it with reviewing and updating the safety guidelines for implementation.”
The guidelines are broadly classified into two interlinked domains infrastructural facilities and amenities for a safe and secure environment and women cells for sensitisation, policy implementation, monitoring and grievance redressal.
The list of some of the guidelines issued by the UGC for the women students that are also under the NEP (National Education Policy 2020) are:
1. Students should be provided with a handbook at the time of admission that would contain detailed information about rules and regulations regarding proper conduct and behaviour expected of them
2. Professional counselling services should be available on campus to address the psychological and emotional concerns of the students
3. Safety of women is a paramount concern for all. The higher education choices are, quite often, limited by perceptions of risk involved in going “outside” the home for higher education
4. The HEIs should ensure easy access to basic sanitation and hygiene facilities for women such as clean, well maintained and fully functioning separate restrooms equipped with 24 hours tap water supply, soap, covered dustbins, sanitary pad disposal bins and vending machines in all its buildings
5. The campus and the adjoining areas should be well-lit. Sports and other playgrounds and public parks should have flood lights
6. The HEIs should provide reliable and consistent transport facilities and feeder buses for all students, especially for women students and female staff, for safe transit within the campus
Recent safety concerns of women in HEIs
The students of NIT Trichy staged a protest recently since only students from the girls' hostel had curfews in place which denied them access to common campus facilities such as labs and libraries at night.
A few weeks ago, a canteen worker from IIT Bombay climbed up the wall to the girl's hostel and peeked into the hostel bathroom.
In another instance, at Chandigarh University, a girl from the hostel allegedly leaked videos of other students in the hostel bathroom which led to protests in the University.