Srinagar: The two-day workshop “Engendering Higher Education” organised by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the Central University of Kashmir (CUK) began at Nowgam-I academic block of the varsity here on Thursday.
Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mehraj ud Din Mir, Founder and Director of Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP), Dr Meenakshi Gopinath, Head Department of Teacher Education, and ICC Chairperson, Prof Nighat Basu, WISCOMP Programme Associate, Shilpi Shabdiat, faculty members and administrative staff were also present on the occasion.
Prof Mir said on the occasion said the varsity was established 10 years ago and at present it has nine Schools, with 18 departments, offering variety of Post Graduate, Undergraduate and Integrated, B Voc, Diploma and Research programmes.
He said the number of students and research scholars in the university as on date is more than 2700, which is more than any other university, established with the CUK. He said the CUK faculty is from different states of India, adding that some of the department’s in the university are headed by the female faculty members. “In majority of the departments in the university, female students top in academics. The female students and scholars, who are part of various statutory bodies of the university, are also involved in the decision making and framing of curriculum,” he said.
Prof Mir said the ICC of the university, has till date registered very few complaints regarding sexual harassment.
Dr Meenakshi Gopinath, in her introductory remarks said, the traditional model of universities of brick and mortar has changed as we can now have varsities in virtual world. She said anti-intellectualism is spreading across the country where even for thinking you have to seek permission. “WISCOMP began its work in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the year 2000, when spaces for dialogue didn’t exist. But we believed in human potential for peace and we believed in the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who know how to craft their destinies, and we also believed that the connection of love and education, will not just transform hearts and minds, but will also transform the society, making it more democratic, inclusive and tolerance based,” she said.
ICC Chairperson, Prof Nighat Basu, said the Committee has been constituted to empower and safeguard the rights of female faculty members, staff and students of the university. “Through this body, the university ensures and promotes gender sensitivity and also conducts various programmes to sensitise everyone towards the gender justice and rights of women. Women have come a long way in the fight for their rights, but there is still a long way to go. There are lot of challenges, some new and some old for which the struggle has to continue,” she said adding the objective of holding today’s programme is one more step towards ICC’s commitment to promote the empowerment of women.
After the inaugural session, several technical and interactive sessions were held in which the participants discussed several issues pertaining to the theme.