All institutions have been asked to set up task force to constantly monitor measures

Alarmed by the outrage over the gang rape here of a 23-year-old student who died in a Singapore hospital subsequently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked universities and institutions of higher education to seriously review the security arrangements for girls and women on the campuses and ensure a safe working environment for women employees.

It has recommended that every institution set up a task force to ensure women’s security and keep it informed of the action taken.

Some occurrences in the national capital and in some States have necessitated a review of the efforts at providing women with increased security on university campuses, Ved Prakash, Acting Chairman of the UGC, said in a letter to Vice-Chancellors and directors of educational institutions nationwide.

Stressing the need for gender sensitisation modules in the curricular areas of higher education, Prof. Ved Prakash said periodic discourse on such concerns among faculty and students, in which girls and women could be an integral part, could probably help to create healthy mindsets. “I have no doubt that our university system can set adulatory benchmarks in this direction.”

Educational institutions must seriously review the security arrangements for girls and women on their campuses. Wherever necessary, security might be further strengthened in and around the girls’ hostels, the UGC said.

Similarly, there was a need to ensure safe working environment for women employees in the offices , the UGC chairman said in the letter. The institutions might put in place a dedicated task force, comprising senior colleagues, for constantly monitoring the arrangements and adding to them, if need be.

Reacting to the directive, S. Vaidhyasubramaniam, Dean, Planning and Development, Sastra University, told The Hindu that as a moral guardian, the managements of the intuitions always had the safety of girls in mind. “While the managements are putting reasonable rules in place, critical stakeholders, especially parents and students themselves, must understand the rationale behind the rule-making and cooperate with the institutions.”

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