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UGC seeks students’ grievances redressal panels in colleges, universities

NewsUGC seeks students’ grievances redressal panels in colleges, universities

NEW DELHI: In a bid to make universities more student friendly, the University Grants Commission (UGC) earlier last week issued directions to all universities and colleges in India to constitute Student Grievances Redressal Committee(s) by July this year for better transparency and time-bound disposal of complaints.
The Gazette notification issued on 11 April 2023 stated that all Higher Educational Institution (HEIs) must have Student Grievances Redressal Committee(s) comprising of a professor as the Chairperson, along with four senior professors or faculty members and a representative amongst the student for redressal of complaints from the student community.
The notification also mandates that at least one member or the Chairperson shall be a woman and at least one member or the Chairperson shall be from the SC, ST, OBC category to give equal representation to all communities.
However, at the University level, the UGC mandates that an Ombudsperson shall be appointed as per the new regulations for redressal of grievances of students of the university and colleges or institutions affiliated with the university. It also mandates that the Ombudsperson to either be a retired Vice Chancellor or a retired professor having more than 10 years of teaching experience in a reputed college or university.
Prof M. Jagdish Kumar, Chairman, UGC, told The Sunday Guardian that the new student grievance redressal regulation replaces the one that was implemented in 2019 and that the new regulation has been brought keeping in mind the New Education Policy of 2020.
“The Student Grievance Redressal Regulations 2023 have been made inclusive by providing representation to women, SC, ST, OBC on the grievance committees, which was not provided in the previous Regulations. This will also provide an additional forum for redressal of complaints against caste-based discrimination. These Regulations do not replace other regulations or guidelines made or issued by the UGC from time to time to ensure that no student is discriminated on the basis of caste, creed, religion, language, ethnicity, gender or disabilities,” Prof Kumar told this newspaper.
The new regulation also lays down the convivence of filing online complaints by the students and have mandated that the complaint must be forwarded to the Student Grievances Redressal Committee within 15 days of the receipt of the complaint so as to make the redressal of complaints in a timely manner.
Prof M. Jagdish Kumar also told The Sunday Guardian that the regulations of 2019 also provided that grievances related to the complaints of alleged discrimination of students from the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Women, Minorities or persons with disabilities categories will be entrained by the grievance committees and ombudspersons, “this provision has been retained in the Regulations of 2023. “The UGC has also issued instructions to the universities from time to time for prevention of caste-based discrimination in higher education. The HEIs are also required to report to the UGC on the activity monitoring portal regarding action taken by them to prevent any caste-based discrimination,” Prof Kumar added.
The new regulation also mandates all colleges and universities to prominently display on its website and in its prospectus, all relevant information in respect of the Students’ Grievance Redressal Committee(s) coming in its purview, and the Ombudsperson for the purpose of appeals, for students to be aware of the rights and mechanisms they have at their disposal.
The UGC also have listed punitive measures for universities and colleges that would not comply with the orders, which includes, withhold of grant, recommendation for withdrawal of affiliation, withdrawal of fitness certificates for receiving funds, declaring the institution ineligible to offer courses through Online/ODL mode for a specified period, among other such measures.

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