Hyderabad: The women’s study centres and centres of social exclusion and inclusion have got a fresh lease of life with the University Grants Commission (UGC) announcing funding till March 30, 2019.
The UGC had earlier notified that the continuance of many schemes from the 12th Five-Year Plan would be decided after September 30 following further inquiry, leading to fears that funding for these centres would be stopped.
The UGC has also approved funding for the equal opportunity cell, with added components such as remedial coaching for SC/ST/OBC and minority community students. The UGC has also added National Eligibility Test (NET) coaching for students. Similarly schemes for disabled students have been approved with the demand of more hiring of teachers for the visually challenged.
Around 30 schemes including scholarships for single girl child and fellowships such as the NET-JRF are to continue. The Bachelor of Vocational Programmes course is to be implemented in universities and colleges under the National Skills Qualification Framework Scheme. Online courses under the Swayam (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) scheme of the Centre has also been extended.
Research scholar Nairah S. said there was a lot of uncertainty regarding the women study centres. “The quality of research published in these centres cannot be undermined.” Professors state that these centres have been producing literature regarding queer identities, feminism and other gender theories which is creating an open space for discussion.
“This research is crucial for understanding gender theories in the Indian context,” said Nairah. These centers have been very crucial for gender sensitisation in campuses as it can be observed in Kakatiya University, Warangal. The women study centre in Kakatiya University which was upgraded as a department of gender studies conducted nearly 60 workshops and seminars regarding the issues faced by women from different castes and tribes. The seminars also stressed on teaching students the different laws that can be used for their protection.
Professors claim that the centres should be regularised as departments to ensure certainty. They claim that the recent incidents at Benaras Hindu University show the importance of discussion on gender in educational institutions.
Ms Sreedhi Mahadev, an MA student, said, “Gender is such a limited discourse on campuses and as students, we often look for interesting courses that can teach us how to view different aspects in the society from the gender lens.”...