Universities, colleges set to have dedicated students' counseling system

All universities and colleges across Maharashtra are set to have dedicated counseling system in place on campuses in attempt to effectively redress problems and challenges faced by students.

Responding to the death of Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad Central University, the University Grants Commissions (UGC) has issued a notice to all universities across India in this regards.

UGC has taken the step of taking responsibility for the mental wellbeing of students on campuses. As per the UGC’s notice, it is one of the important components of the guidelines for safety of students on campuses that all the Higher Education Institutions should mandatorily put in place a broad-based "Students Counseling System" for the effective redressal of problems and challenges faced by students.

The UGC notice states, "It should be a unique, interactive and target-oriented system, involving students, teachers and parents to address common student concerns ranging from anxiety, stress, fear of change and failure to homesickness and a slew of other academic worries. It should bridge formal as well as communicative gaps between students and institution. Teacher counselors, trained to act as the guardians of students at the college level, should remain in close touch with the students allotted to them (batch of 25 students per teacher) throughout the year. They are expected to cater to their emotional and intellectual needs and guide them to move up in their career at regular interval of time. Teacher counselors can coordinate with wardens of hostels and exchange personal details of students, academic record and behavior patterns for prompt pre-emptive or corrective action."

While the UGC is reiterating that it's just reminding institutions of its old guidelines for safety of students on campuses of higher education institutions, the corrective measure comes after death of Dalit scholar Vemula at Hyderabad Central University.

Leeladhar Bansod, Public Relations Officer at the Mumbai university, said, "The new proposed Maharashtra University's Act also has a provision for a strong students counseling system."

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