Bangalore University is bending the gender. It will soon allow eligible transgenders pursuing higher education to take admission and avail of the reservation quota of one seat in each of the 60 post-graduate (PG) courses that it offers.
The varsity’s academic council meeting on Monday unanimously approved the proposals of opening admissions to transgenders to PG courses and to reserve seats for them. This makes Bangalore University the first in India to open admissions as well as fix reservation for transgenders.
It in fact is already gearing up to make adjustments to accommodate its new students.
The university has changed the application format. From this year, apart from the ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ categories, the application form will have a ‘TG’ (Transgender) option.
“The transgender quota is not a transferable one. Even if the reserved seats are not filled, others cannot fill it. This reservation is meant only for transgenders, and it is not beyond rules and regulations,” said N Prabhu Dev, vice-chancellor, Bangalore University.
Members of the academic council, while appreciating the initiative, have also suggested measures to make the transgender students feel comfortable and protected against harassment or ragging by other students.
Prabhu Dev said if any student treated transgenders differently, or they were subject to mental or physical harassment, it would be considered as ragging. “The university is already zero-tolerant towards ragging. It is the responsibility of each head of department to ensure it does not happen and protect the transgenders,” he said. “We consider it as our social responsibility.”
To make students sensitive about transgenders, the university is planning to organise counselling sessions in coordination with the department of psychology.
The varsity is also all set to address the personal needs of the transgenders, like constructing separate toilets and restrooms for them.
“We want them to use the same libraries and laboratories. But in some issues we need to address their private needs, too, like separate toilets and rest rooms,” the vice chancellor said. “I came to know that some of them (transgenders) have been rejected seats in the past by our colleges. Some were hurt by the way college authorities behaved with them. As for my knowledge, many among them are really brilliant and we need to encourage them,” he said.
“We will also think of extending accommodation facilities to them,” said Dev.
BL Muralidhara, coordinator, centralised PG admissions 2010, who presented the proposal before the academic council, said: “Transgender individuals have been denied even basic human rights. It is inevitable that they be brought in the mainstream and given access to education and a better social status.”
“I have cases in that community who have completed their degree and await an opportunity to pursue higher education,” said Shobha Karandlaje, former minister for rural development and panchayat raj.