Bikaner university says won’t charge fee from transgender students
Opening its doors to the members of the third gender, the Maharaja Ganga Singh University (MGSU), Bikaner, has decided to not charge any fee from transgender students from the next academic session.
The decision, vice-chancellor Prof Bhagirath Singh said, was taken at the inauguration ceremony of the university’s Centre for Women Studies on Friday. It will formally come into effect once the university’s Board of Management (BOM) approves it.
“Most of the transgender people remain bereft of education opportunities. Making their education free will be a step towards curbing their exclusion and empowering them,” the V-C said. He added that the decision was likely to be approved in the BOM within a month.
He further said that the university staff would also reach out to the transgender community, create awareness about the opportunities, and motivate them to join the university.
The university does not have any transgender student at present. According to census 2011, there are 16,517 transgender people in Rajasthan and the literacy rate among them is 48.34%.
Lack of basic education might come in the way of those willing to join the university. “We also have some skill development courses in the university, which do not have any eligibility criteria. Those who do not have basic education can join such courses while the qualified ones can opt for higher studies,” the V-C said.
The university shall also include the column for transgender under the category ‘Gender/Sex’ in the admission forms. The Centre for Women Studies was preparing a proposal in this regard which would be put up in the BOM meeting for approval.
“We also plan to engage with them on a regular basis and understand their issues so we can better address them,” said Meghna Sharma, director, Centre for Women Studies.
Earlier this year, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) also took the decision to exempt transgender students from paying the fee.