In its attempt to step up security of students in hostels in educational institutes across the country, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued a set of guidelines. These include higher boundary walls, barbed wire, police presence on campus and biometric attendance. The guidelines have now come under attack with academicians claiming that they “create conditions of lack of safety and autonomy”.
* Any physical infrastructure housing students…should be secured by a boundary wall of such height that it cannot be scaled over easily.
* A fence of spiralling barbed wires can be surmounted on the wall so that unauthorised access to the infrastructure is prevented effectively. * …should be manned by at least three security guards, sufficiently armed, CCTV cameras, identity verification mechanism and register of unknown entrants/visitors with their identity proofs and contact details. Biometric attendance can be an effective way to overcome proxy.
* At least one woman security personnel should be deployed at such entry points so that physical security check of girl students or visitors can be undertaken. The bags and other belongings of students/visitors can also be examined, manually and/or by metal detectors
* Setting up a university police station within the premises of the Higher Educational Institutions.
* …should organize quarterly parents-teachers meet so that grievances and gaps in system can be addressed
* Self-defence training for women studying and working on campus through tie-ups with training institutions / NGOs should be made a mandatory component of extra-curricular activities.
The guidelines further call for police presence on campus, especially at night. “It is understandable that classes, study, research, meetings, films or concerts can keep students on campus late at night. To handle these situations, police officials can provide on demand short-distance escort services to students as they walk down to hostel or nearest taxi or bus stand etc,” the guidelines state.