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Vemula effect: HRD comes up with 12 recommendations to prevent campus suicides

New Delhi: In an effort to prevent incidents of suicide on campuses, the HRD ministry will ask universities to establish local guardian systems for outstation students, while the Vice Chancellors would closely monitor the departmental issues.

The ministry has decided to ask University Grants Commission (UGC) to circulate a list of twelve such recommendations for varsities following the Roopanwal commission report, which was set up to look into the circumstances behind scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide in the University of Hyderabad earlier this year.

Significantly, the report and recommendations of the Roopanwal commission in this regard were tabled by HRD minister Prakash Javadekar in the Parliament yesterday.

Justice (retd) A K Roopanwal had made six recommendations in the report, with the HRD ministry adding six of its own recommendations to the list.

The measures suggested by the HRD ministry include a strong induction programme for better acclimatisation and establishing a local guardian system for outstation students.

The ministry has held that grievances of students should be discussed and dispensed with on weekly basis and Vice Chancellors should hold monthly meetings.

It also suggested remedial teaching for academically weak students while stating that deans should closely monitor department problems.

The ministry has recommended that in case any serious issue is detected, it should be immediately brought to the notice of the Vice Chancellor.

Universities have also been asked to select suitable student volunteers to act as mentors.

Another key recommendation by the ministry includes an effective administration, supervision of hostels and strict compliance of hostel admission rules, so that only those students allotted hostel accommodation by the respective university stay in such facilities.

The UGC will in the coming days circulate these recommendations, in addition to the ones made by Justice Roopanwal, to all central universities and monitor compliance.

It is learnt that the Roopanwal commission had recommended measures like establishment of counselling centres, system of appeal for students in case there is an excess by the university, monitoring committees and Equal Opportunities cell.

The Roopanwal Commission had also held that a Grievance Redressal Committee headed by an ombudsman as per the UGC (Grievance Redressal) Regulations 2012, should be made effective.

There had been a massive uproar over Rohith Vemula’s suicide in February this year, with the Opposition attacking the government over the incident.

The HRD ministry had then appointed the one man Roopanwal commission to look into the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident and come up with measures to prevent and deal with such situations.

The commission in its findings had also said that Vemula’s ‘Dalit’ status could not be established. The family of the scholar had, however, maintained that he was a dalit.