Priyanshi Pareek reports on free education scheme for transgenders in Maharashtra..
Maharashtra’s Higher and Technical Education Minister, Chandrakant Patil, has announced that the government will cover the tuition fees for transgender students enrolled in public universities.
Following a directive from the Maharashtra government, public universities in the state have committed to offering tuition-free education to students within the transgender community. University authorities, in an official statement, emphasized that this progressive move aims to promote inclusivity and ensure equal educational opportunities. Under this decision, transgender students will be granted tuition-free education across these universities and their affiliated colleges.
During discussions with Higher and Technical Education Minister Chandrakant Patil, vice-chancellors of state universities unanimously supported the initiative for universities to cover the complete fees of transgender students using their respective funds. A released statement highlighted the unanimous acceptance of the minister’s appeal to provide free education for transgender students.
This decision was reached in a meeting centered on evaluating the progress of the New Education Policy (NEP), attended by senior officials from the Higher and Technical Education Department.
In a move to benefit the transgender community in Maharashtra, public universities in the state have agreed to provide free education to students from transgender community. The decision has been taken following the suggestion of the state government to fund the studies of students belonging to the transgender community.
In 2014, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision acknowledged transgender individuals as a third gender. Subsequently, the CBSE and several state boards included transgender as a distinct category alongside male and female. However, numerous other state boards are yet to receive formal requests from transgender individuals to establish a specific category for them.
As per the 2011 census, there are approximately 4.88 lakh transgender individuals in the country, with a recorded literacy rate of 56.1 percent among them.
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 recognizes transgender children as part of the Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs). The Union government has strongly encouraged all state and national education boards to ensure equitable and high-quality education for every transgender student.