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UGC asks Varsities to Set Up Students Counseling System

New Delhi, January 29, 2016: UGC has written to all universities to put in place a "students counseling system" for redressal of problems and challenges faced by students in the backdrop of massive outrage over the suicide by a Dalit research scholar in Hyderabad University.

This system should be interactive and target-oriented, involving students, teachers and parents to address common student concerns ranging from anxiety, stress, fear of change and failure to homesickness and other academic worries, UGC Secretary Jaspal Singh Sandhu said in a letter to vice chancellors of all universities.

Referring to UGC guidelines on safety of students on and off campuses, he said that according to them all higher education institutions have to "mandatorily" put in place a broad-based "students counseling system".

UGC asks Varsities to Set Up Counseling System

These guidelines he said have already been communicated to universities last year, he said.

The UGC letter said that the counseling system should bridge formal as well as communicative gaps between the students and the institution at large.

Teacher counselors, 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 guide them to move up in their career at regular interval of time, the UGC secretary said.

Teacher counselors can coordinate with wardens of hostels and exchange personal details of students, academic record and behavior patterns for prompt pre-emptive or corrective action, he added.

He further said that in the students counseling centres set up in universities and colleges affiliated to them, services of a trained psychologist may be used as and when required.

The suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University earlier this month has triggered much outrage after which the HRD ministry had announced that it would take steps including sensitising administrations.

In two other letters, the UGC has asked universities to observe January 30 as martyrs day and celebrate 'Matribhasha Diwas' on 21 February every year.

PTI

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