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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014
Make campuses safe for women
Gauri Kohli, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 01, 2013
First Published: 14:26 IST(1/1/2013)
Last Updated: 15:57 IST(2/1/2013)
Students filling their admission forms at the Art Faculty on the first day of admissions for colleges in North Campus.

It’s time to usher in the New Year with new expectations and promises. As students from across the country condole the death of the 23-year-old rape victim, they have a number of things on their wishlist — from better security for girls on campuses to a softer attendance policy.

A secure campus, please
According to Dipika Deshwal, who is pursuing a master’s degree in Buddhist studies from Delhi University, “Safety of women on campus is a major concern, especially after the shocking gangrape incident. Women cops should be deployed outside every college and girls should be taught self-defence techniques. There should be a special procedure for lodging complaints for female students. Increasing police patrolling on campus is a must.” As for internal assessment, “academically, the process should be done away with and the number of hostels should be increased,” adds Deshwal, who is also a member of the National Students’ Union of India.

Om Prasad, member of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, has similar views. “We should celebrate the New Year as a year of freedom for women. We have been very actively expressing our views about safety of women on campus and in the city and will continue to do so this year too. We wish there are new laws that guarantee security of women.” On other aspects, Prasad says, “As many as 500 students should get new hostels. The merit-cum-means scholarship of R1500 for students with an annual family income of less than R1 lakh should be doubled,” adds Prasad, a student of MPhil (history).

Academic demands
For Pradyumna AK, a second-year student of BA programme at Christ University, Bangalore, most of the things that need an overhaul are related to academics. “I want the university to go easy on internal assessment. Instead of 25 marks per subject, there should be fewer marks allotted to internal assessment. The minimum compulsory requirement for attendance, which is 85%, should also be reduced,” he says.

Students at Banaras Hindu University have their own wishlist. “We want that there should be a democratic set-up at the university. We also wish that moral values and ethics are incorporated in a better way in the curricula and that students understand the essence of social responsibility,” says Vikas Singh, a student of master’s in political science and a member of the university’s student council.

Singh also wishes that the semester system at BHU be changed to the annual mode. “There’s scope for improvement in extra-curricular activities too such as sports and community outreach programmes. We would also like to start more initiatives such as the earn while you learn scheme for students from economically weaker sections,” he adds.

Students from the University of Bombay also have several ideas for 2013. “Delhi University has taken good steps such as introducing a semester system and deciding to implement the four-year course from the 2013 session in compliance with global standards. This would greatly benefit students like me who wish to pursue our preferred course in a foreign institution. I hope such steps are taken by other universities as well,” says Akshay Kohli, who studied at St Xavier’s College, Mumbai.


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