Kerala student suicide: Gov't asks varsities to set up grievance redressal cells 

The Higher Education Minister said that these cells would ensure that the rights of the students' are protected and would address any discrepancies taking place in an institution
Picture Courtesy: TNIE
Picture Courtesy: TNIE

In wake of the recent suicide of a student from Amal Jyothi College of Engineering, Kanjirapally in Kerala, allegedly due to harassment by teachers, the government has ordered the setting up of student grievance redressal cells within a month in all affiliated colleges, including self-financing institutions and university departments.

Higher Education Minister R Bindu told reporters on Thursday, June 8, that directives are laid as to how these grievance redressal cells would function. She added that the cell would also have the mandate to ensure the protection of students' rights laid down in the proposed, Charter of Students Rights. 

The charter will soon be made a part of university rules, she added, "The Jeevani counselling mechanism in government and aided colleges will be extended to self-financing colleges as well and also made a part of the charter of students rights. This will ensure that counselling facilities are available in all campuses in the state."

What would these cells address?
 The cells would address students' qualms with added focus on violations of merit norms during admission, withholding of documents or certificates, imposing additional fees for services, lack of proper infrastructure facilities and complaints related to the conduct of examinations. 

Other issues the cell would look at are:
1) Discrimination of various forms

2) Mental and physical torture from college authorities, teachers, students or staff

3) Any form of victimisation

The students can approach the cell if their complaints are not addressed by prevailing mechanisms. The cell will also hear complaints regarding the shortage of classes or tutorials as mandated by university rules.

The composition of the Grievance Cell
The cell will have the college principal or the head of the university department as the chairperson, who will then nominate two teachers, one of whom shall be a woman, as members. Chairperson of the college union or departmental students union, two representatives elected by students (one of whom shall be a woman), a differently-abled student and an SC/ST student nominated by the principal/Head of Department (HoD) will also be part of the cell.

The other members of the cell are: a representative of Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and a teacher nominated by the Syndicate as the university representative. The government has also directed that the student representatives in the cell would be chosen along with the college union representatives. They will continue till new members are elected.

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