UGC pushes humanities to check radicalisation


Amidst a growing concern about educated youth indulging in anti-national and anti-social activities, the apex higher education regulator has asked universities to take steps to check "radicalisation of youth".

Following recommendations made by the National Integration Council, the University Grants Commission has written to all universities and recognised institutes asking them to ensure that students enrolled even in science and technology courses study humanities and social sciences alongside, so as to remain sensitive to human values.

The move comes at a time when there is a growing concern about how those involved in terrorist activities come with a reasonably good educational background. Many, in fact, boast of specialisation in technology or engineering courses. Questions have been raised on an emerging vacuum in the education system and the failure to integrate value-based education with regular curriculum.

In a letter addressed to all recognised universities, the UGC has said that "human rights issues and human values need to be sensitised amongst students". In a meeting dated December 17, 2012, the UGC has decided that "technology and science students should be asked to take courses under humanities and social sciences as part of their curriculum". Asking universities to implement the decision, the UGC has asked them to take all measures they may deem fit to "stop the radicalisation of youth".

The UGC suggestions follow recommendations made by the National Integration Council, which has opined that radicalisation of students should be arrested through effective programmes offered at intervals across educational institutes.

The NIC is packed with senior Cabinet ministers, chief ministers and senior politicians and addresses issues that could be seen as divisive or harmful to the nation's integrity. The NIC last met in September 2011 and currently operates through a Standing Committee.

The UGC communication comes a month after educational institutes were asked to focus on gender sensitivity and value education in the aftermath of the Delhi gangrape case. Earlier, the Prime Minister's Office has asked the HRD Ministry to emphasise on teaching moral science at the school level and include chapters on value education in textbooks so that gender sensitivity and respect for women is taught and inculcated right from the beginning.

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