New Delhi, May 11: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all central universities and higher education institutions to put a 'counselling system' in place to help students deal with problems of stress, anxiety and homesickness.
"Higher education institutions should mandatorily put in place a broad-based 'Students Counselling System' for the effective management of problems and challenges faced by students," the UGC has said.
The directive comes as part of the "Guidelines on Safety of Students on and off Campuses of Higher Educational Institutions", which have been shared with all varsities by UGC, asking them to amend their ordinances and other relevant statutory provisions to ensure the directions are implemented in the best interests of students.
"It should be a unique, interactive and target-oriented system, involving students, teachers and parents, resolved to address common student concerns ranging from anxiety, stress, fear of change and failure to homesickness and a slew of academic worries," it said.
"It should bridge the formal as well as communicative gaps between the students and the institution at large," the guidelines added.
The UGC has also recommended that each teacher can be in touch with at least 25 students in order to give personal hearing to the issues faced by them and also be in touch with their parents regarding the same.
"Teacher counsellors, trained to act as the guardians of students at the college level, should remain in close touch with the students allotted to them (batch of 25 students) throughout the year, cater to their emotional and intellectual needs and convey their growth report and feedback on attendance, examination results etc to their parents at regular interval of time.
"Teacher counsellors can coordinate with wardens of hostels and exchange personal details of students, academic record and behaviour patterns for prompt pre-emptive or corrective action," the guidelines said.
The commission has also directed the universities to have their own police stations for quick handling of crisis and preventing untoward incidents on campus.
The guidelines also suggest adoption of some of the best practices implemented by campuses worldwide like the 'Warn Me' model developed by University of California, Berkley, helping in sending of emergency messages through Internet and mobiles.