Soon, all universities, deemed universities and colleges in the country will be required to constitute in-house Grievance Redressal Committees (GRCs) to address complaints from students.
Not just that, on the lines of the Reserve Bank of India’s Banking Ombudsman scheme, every university must appoint an Ombudsman who shall hear appeals arising out of the decision of the GRCs.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) cleared the decks for establishing the GRCs and the Ombudsman at its 484th meeting held in late April by approving the UGC (Establishment of Mechanism for Grievance Redressal) Regulations 2012.
The Regulations would also be discussed at the State Education Ministers’ Conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.
“The Ombudsman shall be a person who has been a judge not below the rank of a District Judge or a Retired Professor who has at least 10 years experience as a Professor,” a UGC official said.
To deal with appeals relating to State Universities, the Ombudsman shall be appointed by a Search Committee headed by a nominee of the respective Governor, two Vice-Chancellors from public universities, a Vice-Chancellor from a private university and Secretary, Higher Education of the State concerned.
“Every higher educational institution must have a GRC comprising a senior professor, three senior teachers and a student representative based on academic merit. The GRC will have powers to deal with irregularities in admission process, demanding excess fee, victimisation of students, delay in conducting / declaring examination results, non-transparent or unfair evaluation process, lack of facilities and breach in reservation norms,” the official explained.
The UGC has warned that universities failing to adhere to the new Regulations may lose financial grants under Section 12B of the UGC Act and violating colleges could be disaffiliated.
The apex regulatory body for higher education has also approved the UGC (Prevention of Caste Based Discrimination/Harassment/Victimisation and Promotion of Equality in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012.
Under this regulation, every college and university must establish Equal Opportunity Cells and appoint an Anti-Discrimination Officer to prevent biased decisions against SC/ST candidates including segregation of students on the basis of caste.