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Committees to tackle ragging

Special Correspondent

Thiruvananthapuram: The State Government has decided to set up campus committees and a State-level committee to tackle ragging in educational institutions as part of the guidelines formulated at a high-level meeting convened by Education Minister E.T. Mohammed Basheer on Saturday.

AT a press conference here, Mr. Basheer said the Principal Secretary for Higher Education as chairman would head the State-level committee, with the Collegiate Education Director and the Technical Education Director as members. The principals of the respective institutions will head the college committees. The principal will nominate one of the heads of departments to the committee to function as convener. The college committees will have one woman from the faculty.

The college committees will continuously keep a tab on ragging on the campus, take preventive steps, direct the college authorities to take punitive action against those found guilty of ragging, besides ensuring the effective implementation of the provision of the Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1998. As per the newly formulated guidelines, students and their parents would be required to give an undertaking against ragging at the beginning of each year. New students and their parents would be given leaflets listing out the steps to be taken in case of ragging.

Mr. Basheer said as soon as the ragging case involving a nursing student at the School of Medical Science of Mahatma Gandhi University came to light, the Education Department examined whether there was any shortcomings in the existing Act which need not be further reformed. He said the Act was not found lacking, but there was no attempt to enforce it. Asked whether student representatives would be included in the college committees, Mr. Basheer said this issue was discussed at the meeting, but the decision was not to include a student representative for the time being. In the SME ragging case, the Government had done everything possible under the circumstances. It had suspended the principal, besides registering a case against her. The Syndicate sub-committee was inquiring about the issues. In order to prevent any untoward incidents, the college was closed. The University was also vigilant.