NEW DELHI: The University Grants Commission has asked all varsities and colleges in India to implement the recommendations of a four member committee appointed by the Supreme Court to discourage instances of ragging on campuses.
Some of the suggestions made by the committee include counselling perpetrators and the victims, installing CCTV cameras in key areas and laying down standard operating procedures to tackle the cases of ragging.
In a letter issued to vice-chancellors of varsities across the country, the UGC has also directed heads of the institutes of higher education to install CC TV cameras and a create a “proper surveillance mechanism including a check on hostels by the wardens.”
“Students should be made aware of the rules as well as the procedure for filing a complaint, whom to approach and their contact information, the procedure that will be followed by the institutions, with assurance of keeping anonymity of complainant," the letter written by the UGC secretary P K Thakur read.
The UGC, in its circular, also listed the key recommendations of a four-member committee, comprising of mental health and public health professionals, that was appointed by the Supreme Court in 2009 to carry out “Psychosocial Study of Ragging in Selected Educational Institutions in India".
The Committee, constituted following the death of Aman Kachroo, a medical student who was allegedly killed by his seniors in a medical college in Kangra, had submitted a 252 page report in 2015.
The report based on survey carried out in 37 colleges in the country said that as many as 40 per cent students face some form of ragging on campus but less than 9 per cent cases are reported.
The survey also highlighted that a significant number of students—about 32 per cent—accepted “enjoying” ragging while over 60 per cent had negative emotions about ragging and nearly 65 per cent students never got along well with seniors who ragged them.
The committee, headed by Professor Mohan Rao, also reached the conclusion that “it’s a myth that ragging is a tool to help fresher students bond with their seniors.”
The UGC, in its circular has listed out these key statistics.
“You (head of institutions) are requested to implement these recommendations and ensure a ragging-free campus and create an institutional climate which is supportive and fair, with faculty who are attuned to and interested in student development that will become the foundation of a dynamic culture that is just, progressive and open to change towards an egalitarian society,” the letter said.
Principals of colleges have also been asked to deploy their officials to remain in regular touch with the students and promote their "inclusion in activities" such as games, sports and extra-curricular activities in the hostels.
"The higher education institutions must provide an environment where the students learn the values of democratic, mutually respectful relationships, non-violent conflict resolution, autonomous and critical thinking, compassion and caring, respect for differences, fairness and so on," the UGC said.
This can be done by holding programmes and activities that foster "civic engagement and responsibility, critical reflection on social issues and deliberation on values," it added.