Policy Matters

UGC proposed for declaration of Women’s Studies Centres as statutory departments

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The UGC had invited proposals for establishment of WSCs in Universities/Colleges under the scheme of 'Development of Women Studies in Indian Universities and Colleges' in the Tenth Five-Year Plan. However, the guidelines for the Eleventh Plan have taken a broader view by suggesting that these study centres should become teaching and research departments under the university system. Shashi Rai, member, UGC, said, 'Currently, there are 62 WSCs in various colleges and universities, which do not necessarily have a clear understanding of the aims and objectives with which the UGC had initiated the programme.' He added WSCs faced considerable difficulties due to the lack of clarity about their roles and the terms under which the UGC disburses its grants. A lot of money has been spent to address women's issues, but the academic part has not been monitored well so far, he said.

The new guidelines for the Eleventh Five-Year Plan propose to convert these study centres into departments with specific focus on academics, teaching, training amd advocacy, dissemination of knowledge and field action projects, he further added. A research chair for women's studies at the UGC level has been proposed under the scheme of Women's Studies in the Eleventh Plan. In the Tenth Plan, the UGC had funded 51 centres in universities and 16 centres in colleges. The budget allocation for these centres was Rs 10 crore. The Eleventh Plan proposed to double the grant.

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