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March 19, 2019
Teachers and students across the country are concerned about the new guidelines for women’s studies centres issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
While the guidelines do not explicitly allude to the dissolution or reduction of paid positions for faculty, academics are suggesting that the implication is inherent.
This apprehension partly comes from the fact that previous guidelines spoke in detail about teaching and training in women’s studies centres, in addition to BA, MA, MPhil and PhD qualifications.
The new guidelines – contained in a slim document of 23 pages – do not address teaching and training and say almost nothing about the four degrees.
“Many women’s studies centres around the country were started because the UGC gave funding for the faculty and researchers. The UGC was supposed to keep funding the centres but the present guidelines are silent on this. Many faculty members who are dependent on the UGC for salaries can be affected,” says Mini Sukumar, head of the women’s studies department at the University of Calicut.
Firdous Azmat Siddiqui, an associate professor at Jamia Milia Islamia, who was part of recent talks with the UGC on the issue, says that the new guidelines are like a “suicide note” for scholars like her. “When we met with concerned authorities in the government, we were told that the provisioning for women’s studies centre has diminished so some staff positions would also be wound up,” she says.
In August 2017, a notice from the UGC’s secretary said there was no proposal to cut funding or support to women’s studies centres.
Courtesy: The Wire
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