Varsities in Hyderabad on course to end bias against NE students

Hyderabad – With discrimination and attacks on students from the northeastern states a cause for major concern, universities in the city are all set to act on a central directive to begin courses on the heritage and culture of the seven sister states.

Following a directive from the ministry of human resource development (MHRD), plans are afoot in the University of Hyderabad (UoH) to begin a course on the history, culture and conflicts in the northeastern states from the June semester. Osmania University (OU), on the other hand, is opening a new centre for northeastern studies.

The MHRD directive has come at a time when conflict is raging in the North East, particularly in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur.

Across the country as well as in Hyderabad, students from the northeastern states often complain of discrimination in educational institutes and workplaces.

This, authorities presume, is mainly because most people are not aware of the rich cultural heritage of the seven states -Nagaland, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

Hyderabad has a sizeable share of students from the North East and these courses are expected to take off well and help build communal harmony and national integration, said educationists.

Interestingly, those chosen for the initiative in the city are also faculty members from the seven states, reported Times of India.

“We will offer a multi-disciplinary course on North East India that will focus on the constraints and challenges that pin down the region. It will cover several issues, including historical background, social institutions, economy, environmental concerns, gender, social movements and ethnic conflict, in these regions,” said Ajailiu Niumai, associate professor from the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, University of Hyderabad.

“We also have a proposal to begin a centre for studies from the North East,” said Niumai, adding that the Uni versity of Hyderabad has close to 600 students and 12 faculty members from the northeastern states.

Such courses would help build a conducive environment for people from North East in Hyderabad, said educationists.

“There should be more such attempts to get people from the other states in India to understand the socio-cultural complexities of the seven states,” Niumai, who is a Naga hailing from Manipur, said.

Osmania University (OU), in the meantime, will start a centre on North East studies. “The centre is expected to fetch funding from the UGC as the MHRD has big plans for integrating curriculum on North East India into varsities,” a senior professor from OU said.A proposal for the same will soon be forwarded to MHRD, he added. Osmania University (OU) has around 100 students from the seven states.

Meanwhile, UoH vice chancellor E Haribabu said that the varsity has been attracting many students from these states every year and beginning such courses will have a bigger impact.

“We have maintained our examination centres in northeastern states despite their nonviability. We also get word of mouth publicity through church groups,” he added.

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