'Additional forum for redressal of complaints': UGC on new students grievance redressal norms

UGC issued students grievance redressal regulations 2023 and asked colleges, universities to form committee and appoint ombudsperson.

'Additional forum for redressal of complaints': UGC on new students grievance redressal norms UGC issues clarification on newspaper story alleging 'caste bias fears' in student grievance redressal regulations 2023 (Representational Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Vagisha Kaushik | Apr 14, 2023 - 8:27 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The University Grants Commission (UGC) clarified that the new student grievance redressal guidelines provide an “additional platform” for redress of grievances against caste-based discrimination in colleges and universities rather than replacing the other rules on the same issue. Recently, UGC asked all colleges, universities to form a students grievance redressal committee and appoint an ombudsperson as a part of the 'University Grants Commission Redressal of Grievance of Students Regulations 2023'.

In an official statement, the commission said that a “misleading” story alleging caste bias fears has been published without verifying the facts and without taking UGC’s views.

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“Apropos to the above, it has been noted with consternation that a newspaper has published a misleading news story without verifying the facts and without making any attempt to ascertain the comments of the UGC. The following will clarify that the impression created in the new story is totally unsubstantiated,” said UGC while listing down clarifications.

According to UGC’s clarification on student grievance redressal regulations 2023,

  • University Grants Commission (Redressal of Grievances of Students) Regulations, 2023 replaces Regulations of 2019 on the subject. The Regulations have been revised in the light of the National Education Policy 2020.
  • The Students’ Grievance Regulations 2023 provide an additional forum for redressal of complaints against caste-based discrimination. These Regulations do not replace other regulations or guidelines made/issued by the UGC from time to time to ensure that no student is discriminated on the basis of caste, creed, religion, language, ethnicity, gender or disabilities.
  • The Regulations of 2019 also provided that grievances related to the complaints of alleged discrimination of students from the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Women, Minorities or persons with disabilities categories will be entrained by the grievance committees and ombudspersons. This provision has been retained in the Regulations of 2023.
  • Scheme of Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC)for Universities and Colleges was started in 2012 and is still in operation. 1818 EOCs have been established in the Universities and Colleges.
  • The UGC (Promotion of Equity in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012 provides for appointment of Anti-Discrimination Officer, other measures to eliminate any kind of discrimination and to ensure equity amongst students.
  • The UGC has issued instructions to the universities from time to time for prevention of caste based discrimination in higher education. The HEIs are also required to report to the UGC on the activity monitoring portal regarding action taken by them to prevent any caste-based discrimination.
  • The Student Grievance Redressal Regulations 2023 have been made inclusive by providing representation to women/SC/ST/OBC on the grievance committees, which was not provided in the previous Regulations.
  • The Student Grievance Redressal Regulations 2023 have made the grievance redressal more accessible to the students. There shall be one or more ombudspersons for each University instead of the previous provisions having the appointment of ombudspersons at the state level or at the regional level. This will increase the accessibility of the grievance redressal system for the students.

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