Chandigarh plans fee waiver for transgender students from next academic session
To make education inclusive for transgenders, the Chandigarh administration is planning a complete fee waiver in schools, colleges and Panjab University from next academic session. The move comes after members of the Transgender Welfare Board met UT education secretary BL Sharma.
Dhananjay Chauhan Mangalmukhi and Kajal Mangalmukhi wrote to Sharma regarding complete fee waiver in schools and colleges on August 30, after which the matter was referred to the office of UT director of higher education Rubinderjit Brar. Dhananjay and Kajal met Brar on October 9, after which the matter was taken into consideration.
Director of higher education Rubinderjit Brar said, “From the next academic session, we are planning to give a fee waiver to transgender students as fee for this session has already been paid. From this session, we will try to incorporate their other demands of transfriendly hostels and toilets.”
Five trans students in PU
However, so far, only five students have identified themselves as transgender in the Panjab University. Students from no other college and school have identified themselves as transgender.
Brar said: “We can only make it possible if students come and identify themselves for the scheme. After we have a definite number, we can provide them with adequate facilities with the support of government of India. But first, they will have to identify themselves so that we can formulate a financial plan.”
Dhananjay Chauhan Mangalmukhi, first Panjab University student to identify himself as transgender, said, “Students at the university level are somewhat able to identify their orientation. At schools and colleges, they are mostly confused. On top of that, there is a stringent social stigma attached to transgenders, how will they come up.”
“University is considerate for their demand, that is why a trans-friendly toilet was constructed on the campus,” Renuka Salwan, Panjab University spokesperson said.
Dhananjay said, “These are crucial demands, if the government really plans to eradicate discrimination and stigma. Education is the way forward but how will we pay our fee when we are already disowned by our parents. Scholarship money of Rs 20,000 cannot compensate for my expenditure on education, which is around Rs 1 lakh.”
Demands made by members of the Transgender Welfare Board
1. Fee waiver in Panjab University and affiliated colleges.
2. Separate accommodation (block) for transgender students on campus.
3. Additional seats in every department and colleges for transgender students, like for ‘single girl child’ and ‘other’ category.
4. Every government department, police department, university and affiliated colleges and school teachers should organise workshop and seminars to sensitise staff and students, in collaboration with the Chandigarh Transgender Welfare Board.
5. Anti-discriminatory/sexual harassment committee should be constituted in Chandigarh under the police department. Two members should be from transgender community in the committee.