UGC orders colleges and universities to create gender bias complaints committee

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked universities and colleges to provide training for the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and a special cell to address gender-based violence and conduct gender awareness programs. Universities were asked to complete the online gender audit compliance on the SAKSHAM portal and update affiliated colleges in much the same way.

ICCs will operate in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention, Prohibition and Remedy of Sexual Harassment of Female Employees and Students at Higher Education Institutions Regulations 2015. ‘ among students who would lead the effort to make campuses more gender-inclusive.

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These “gender champions” can be boys and girls over the age of 16, enrolled in educational institutions. Their main task will be to ensure an enabling environment within their educational institution where girls are treated with respect and dignity, read the UGC notice.

According to the guidelines, they must mainstream gender equality through group discussions, poster competitions and debates, identify and close gender gaps in classrooms and organize awareness programs such as workshops, thematic plays, painting competitions and films.

The UGC had also asked universities to set up women’s hotlines, police and hospital hotlines in all institutions, as well as organize exposure tours in villages, neighborhoods, districts and cities to facilitate knowledge on gender equality.

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Gender champions will be appointed by the head of the educational institution in consultation with student representatives after evaluating candidates on the basis of their “intelligence, decisiveness and honesty”.

Educational institutions are also expected to appoint Nodal Teachers to oversee and facilitate the operation of Gander Champions. The selected teacher participates in all the meetings organized by the gender champions and also collects the quarterly reports of the gender champions, evaluates them and sends them to the school principal. The Gender Champion will receive a Certificate of Appreciation for their efforts in promoting gender sensitivity on campus.

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