The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended some measures to ensure equal opportunities for students from deprived sections in higher education. Some measures like an additional curriculum, an earn-and-learn scheme, and equal opportunity room for the protection of constitutional rights have been proposed in it.
So far, many studies have shown that students from underprivileged sections are dropping out of higher education due to academic stress along with a lack of appropriate environment and behavior in higher education institutions.
Therefore, the UGC issued guidelines for creating an inclusive, equal, and sensitive environment in higher education institutions for students belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes (Non-Criminal), Minorities, and Economically Backward Sections. It has been clarified that students from indigent sections should get equal opportunities as general students.
As per the guidelines, an equal opportunity room will be established in every higher education institution. It will be ensured that students will not be discriminated against by this chamber and their constitutional rights will be protected.
The existing Scheduled Caste-Tribe Cell, Other Backward Class Cells, etc will work under this Equal Opportunity Cell. The Director or Superintendent of this unit will be nominated by the Head of the Higher Education Institution.
Apart from that seven other members will be included in the committee. Using supplementary courses, the deficiencies in the student’s studies can be removed. It is also mentioned that students will get confidence and knowledge for further education.
The ‘Earn and Learn’ scheme has been proposed to ease the hardships of economically weaker students. If employment is available while studying, students and their parents can get some financial relief. Apart from that, the dropout rate will decrease. Students will get a chance to work while studying.
Therefore, it has been clarified that this scheme should be encouraged.