UGC steps in to end caste-based abuse ahead of UP elections

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NEW DELHI : Amid increasing cases of discrimination in some prominent institutions and caste becoming a politically sensitive issue ahead of elections in states like Uttar Pradesh next year, the education regulator asked colleges and universities to end caste-based abuse as a priority.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has called on institutions to act swiftly against officials and faculties involved in such actions. Among other guidelines, the UGC also asked them to develop a dedicated online complaints platform and set up a separate committee to deal with the situation. In addition, the higher education regulator has urged institutions and universities to provide regular updates.

The move comes after the education ministry announced it would fill vacant castes on a priority basis at central universities and is seen by academics as a concerted move to tackle discrimination and address the ramifications. policies ahead of crucial state elections.

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“Civil servants or faculty members should refrain from any act of discrimination against students from Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) on the basis of their social background. The university and colleges should ensure that no official faculty member engages in any form of discrimination against a community or category of students, ”UGC said in a letter to institutions of Higher Education.

“The university / institute / college may develop a page on its website to file such complaints of caste discrimination by SC / ST students and also place a register of complaints at the registrar / main office for this purpose. If such an incident is brought to the attention of the authorities, action must be taken swiftly against the offending officials / faculty members, ”the supreme higher education regulator said in the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by TUSEN.

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He also reminded the institutions to take note of his previous suggestions on ending caste-based discrimination and to show sufficient sensitivity in this area. The circular further emphasizes that universities can set up a committee to examine complaints of discrimination received from students of SC, ST and OBC as well as teachers and non-teaching staff.

“You are requested to advise officials / faculty members at your university / institute to be more sensitive when dealing with incidents of caste discrimination,” UGC said, adding that the information for the year 2020-2021 in the prescribed format must be provided to UGC as a matter of urgency.

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Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has called on vice-chancellors of all central universities to fill more than 6,200 vacant positions by the end of October. Speaking to rectors at 46 central universities, Pradhan on September 4 asked universities to advertise vacancies and fill the posts.

According to the Ministry of Education, there are 6,229 vacant teaching posts in universities, of which 1,012 are in the SC category, 592 in the ST category, 1,767 posts in the OBC category, 805 in the EWS category (section economically weaker) and 355 in the physical handicap category.

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