On the occasion of National Girl Child Day on Friday (January 24), University Grants Commission (UGC) announced the establishment of 10 women-centric academic chairs in various universities.
The chairs will be established in the names of freedom fighter and poet Mahadevi Verma, singer M.S. Subbulakshmi and Maratha queen Devi Ahilyabai Holkar among few others.
As a step towards encouraging girls and women to engage in higher studies, the chairs are established in association with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD).
MWCD in a press release stated that there will be an allotment of ₹50 lakh per Chair per year and the total expenditure for establishing ten Chairs will be approximately ₹5 crores per annum.
As per the guidelines, the Chairs are to be established for a period of 5 years.
Apart from Holkar, Verma and Subbulakshmi, the new chairs are in the names of the ancient Indian mathematician Lilavati, Kashmiri poet Lalleshwari, also known as Lal Ded, Naga freedom fighter Rani Gaidinliu and India’s first female physician Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi, wildlife conservationist Amrita Devi, reformist Hansa Mehta and biochemist Kamala Sohonie.
A UGC chair under an eminent personality’s name gives the university or institution the option to teach about the life and works of that personality.
The academic functions of the chairs include ‘engage in research and, in turn, contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the area of the study, strengthen the role of university/academics in public policymaking and to design and execute short-term capacity-building programmes for teachers in higher education focused towards the designated discipline of the Chair.
The other academic functions will be to provide a forum for inter-university or inter-collegiate Post Graduate and Research level dialogues, discussion meeting, publish articles or research papers, reports, books and monograms while participating in teaching and PhD programme of the Department or School in which it is located.
The release also added that the university will review the progress of the Chair annually and submit a final report on the activities and outcome of the Chair to the UGC every five years.
A chair is usually headed by an eminent academic, with an outstanding track record.