To achieve gender equality in all educational institutes, the UGC, instructed the institutes to appoint gender champions among students last year. There was, however, no specific instruction about the third gender.
To rectify the same, all universities and colleges were directed to involve the third gender in the scheme according to a letter from UGC secretary Jaspal Sandhu on April 5.
The women and child development ministry played a big role in the same.
Medha Nanivadekar, the director of the Centre for Women's Studies at the Shivaji University, Kolhapur said this was a welcome move by the UGC and will encourage third gender to participate in the academic activities.
"Last year's UGC instrction for the gender champions scheme did not mention third gender and it was, in a way, was exclusive. But with the option of third gender, it is now inclusive," she told TOI.
Nanivadekar said there were no specific statistics available with the SUK about the number of third gender students and it would be interesting to see how many actually exercise the option.
"The inclusion of transgender into the mainstream academics is a bold move by the UGC. I personally support it. We need to know the actual meaning of gender equality that also involves transgenders," said Abhishek Sant, an under-graduate student.
The commission had asked colleges and universities to nominate a student as gender champion on the campus. The elected students were to be in charge of identifying gender bias, if any, in classrooms, observe the reasons for gender inequality and suggest measures to promote gender equality.