Free courses for transgenders
Open university hopes fee waiver will lead to improved social mobility
Transgender Indians can now get an education free of charge.
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is offering a complete fee waiver to transgender candidates, providing they have the necessary documentation to prove their status, according to media reports.
IGNOU is the largest open university in the country, with over three million students enrolled in its 200-odd programs.
A university statement said: “The competent authority is pleased to approve fee exemption in all programs for transgender candidates. Any certificate issued by the central/state government/medical officer/any other competent authority/ Aadhaar card, etc may be sought for the purpose.”
On the subject of improving people’s lives through expanded access to education, Ravindra Kumar, IGNOU’s vice-chancellor, was quoted as saying, “An NGO approached our regional director in Delhi last year for enrolling transgenders into our programs, to give them some sense of respect. Once they take to some course in IGNOU, they feel elevated and slightly better because of their social status. If they take to education, their lot will improve substantially. So once the officials approached us, we welcomed [the idea].”
So far IGNOU has received applications from over 100 transgenders.