Human Rights course mandatory in UOP

Pune: In a trend setting first in the educational field in Maharashtra, University of Pune (UOP) has introduced a compulsory course in Human Rights and Duties beginning this month, covering post-graduate studies in all its faculties.

The UOP decision follows a recent directive of the state government asking universities to make study of human rights mandatory in its curriculum. "The goal of the programme which consists of 15 lectures each semester, is to create awareness among the students` community and to promote a culture of human rights and values," said Vasudeo Gade, director, Board of College and University Development (BUCD) in a talk with PTI here.

He said though the initial phase of the course would cover post-graduate studies, it would be implemented at undergraduate level too in a phased manner, forming an important part of the curriculum.

"UOP is the first university in Maharashtra and perhaps also in the country to have introduced a mandatory subject like Human Rights and Duties. We deliberated for over six months to design the course structure and its contents and identify teachers before getting approval of the Academic Council for its iintroduction", Gade added.

As per the format drawn, every student will appear for one paper of the Human Rights course each semester and will have to get through it along with the regular subjects.

The BUCD director said the state government directive was applicable for all universities in Maharashtra that are now expected to start working on the contents of the mandatory course.

"The University Grants Commission ( UGC) has recommended the Human Rights studies in its basic guidelines and the subject is treated as an optional one in other states", Gade noted, adding that Maharashtra government had however, decided to make it a compulsory topic for all faculties covering undergraduate to post graduate level.

The course contents will include basic constitutional rights, human relations and international events relating to Human Rights. The first paper of the course starting this semester will be on "Introduction to Human Rights Education and Duties" and besides lectures, the students will be given study material.

The work of devising and monitoring the examination pattern and the evaluation process will be entrusted with the departmental heads of the respective faculties of the university.

The UOP initiative in fast implementation of the government directive on Human Rights education is being widely welcomed in academic and social circules here which say that apart from broadening the studnets` mindset with a global perspective on the burning human rights issues, it will also help curb undesirable tendencies such as ragging which is rampant on many campuses.