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UGC Directs Colleges, Universities to Set up Complaint Committee Against Gender Bias

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed universities and colleges to ensure the formation of the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) and a special cell to deal with gender-based violence and conduct gender sensitisation programmes. The varsities have been directed to fill online compliance of gender audit on SAKSHAM portal and update the affiliated colleges about the same.

The ICCs will function as per the provision of UGC (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women Employees and Students in Higher Education Institution) Regulations, 2015. In an earlier notice, UGC had asked varsities to ensure the nomination of ‘Gender Champions’ among students who would lead the effort of making the campuses more gender-inclusive.

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These ‘Gender Champions’ can be boys and girls over the age of 16, enrolled in educational institutes. Their primary task will be to ensure enabling an environment within their educational institution where girls are treated with respect and dignity, read the UGC notice.

As per the guidelines, they must mainstream gender equality through group discussions poster competitions, and debates, identify and address gender gaps in the classrooms, and organise awareness programs such as workshops, theme-based plays, painting competitions, and films.

UGC had also asked varsities to set up women helpline numbers, police, and hospital helplines across institutions as well as organise exposure visits to villages, blocks, districts, and cities to facilitate knowledge about gender equality.

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The Gender Champions will be appointed by the head of the educational institute in consultation with student representatives after assessing the candidates based on their “intelligence, decisiveness and honesty.”

The education institutions are also supposed to appoint nodal teachers to oversee and facilitate the functioning of Gander champions. The selected teacher participates in all meeting organised by Gender Champions and also collect quarterly reports of the Gender Champions, assess them and send it to the Head of the Institution. The Gender Champion will be awarded an appreciation certificate for their efforts in promoting gender sensitivity on campus.

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