EXPLORING A ROADMAP TO EMPOWER TRANSGENDER COMMUNITIES Experiences of IGNOU Regional Centre, Bhopal

Umesh Chandra Pandey, K S TIWARI, Earnst Ram

Abstract


 

Non-recognition of Transgender(TGs) Community, as a third gender, in India had for long time  denied them the right of equality before the law and equal protection of law guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution and violates the rights guaranteed to them under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. With the historical decision of the Supreme Court of India in April 2014, thereby granting constitutional recognition as Third Gender to Transgender (TGs) Communities, the issues confronting them have come to the forefront of National Agenda. However, TGs still face extremes of Social Exclusion which has seriously threatened their constitutionally guaranteed Human Rights.

Their access to education, health, employment, housing, banking, pension, insurance services and a range of Governmental Services are limited. Education is the only viable instrument to mainstream the Transgender Communities. Their existing participation in the Gross Enrollment Ratio of the country is negligibly small. Based on the Apex Court’s decision, University Grants Commission has issued instructions to all the Universities to encourage the participation of the TGs. However situation on the ground leaves much to be desired.

Open and Distance Learning Systems due to their Innovative and Flexible Delivery Systems are ideally positioned to meet the educational aspirations of Transgender Communities. IGNOU has been the first University of India which has ensured that the option of Third Gender should be specifically mentioned on the admission form. IGNOU Regional Centre Bhopal has initiated extensive Stakeholder Consultation to prepare a roadmap to enhance their participation in IGNOU’s Programmes.

It has been a difficult task to consult the Transgender People keeping in view of their indifference for outside world. The authors consulted TGs through a carefully planned process. Besides TGs , all such agencies/individuals were consulted who feel concerned about them. The various stakeholders like Transgender Community, their Leaders, Government Officials dealing with these issues, NGOs, Media persons etc were consulted and their perceptions were documented. The meetings were video recorded and then analyzed. Based on the outcomes a roadmap was evolved to reach out to TG Communities.

 

It has been observed that a roadmap for delivering academic services to TGs has to take in to account their peculiar Life Style, Systems of belief, Leadership Patterns, their perceptions about the outside world and their livelihood Pursuits. The paper is divided in four Parts. The Part-I give the status of legal rights of TG Communities and highlights recent verdict given by Apex Court. In Part-II, the results of Stakeholder Consultations have been described to evolve a new perspective for Empowerment of TGs.Part III summarizes the ideal positioning of Open and Distance Learning Systems for addressing the issues related to TGs.The possibilities of educational interventions through ODL mode have been highlighted. Part IV gives Conclusions and Recommendations.


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References


Judgment of Supreme Court of India(2014) in the Court Case Writ Petition 400 of 2012 titled NLSA Vs Union of India and others http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/outtoday/wc40012.pdf (accessed on 16th August 2015)

NDTV Report(2014) titled “Transgender Men continue to Struggle for visibility in Social Change”http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/transgender-men-continue-to-struggle-for-visibility-in-social-change-778252 (Accessed on 16th Aug 2015)

UNDP’s Report (2013) titled “Transgender Health and Human Rights” http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/HIV-AIDS/Governance%20of%20HIV%20Responses/Trans%20Health%20&%20Human%20Rights.pdf (Accessed on 16th Aug 2015)

UNDP’s Report (2012) Legal recognition of the Gender identity of Transgender people in India: Current Situation and Potential Options” http://www.undp.org/content/dam/india/docs/HIV_and_development/legal-recognition-of-gender-identity-of-transgender-people-in-in.pdf (Accessed on 16th Aug 2015)

Report of Expert Committee on issues related to Transgenders” (2014) http://socialjustice.nic.in/pdf/part1-transgender.pdf (Accessed on 16th Aug 2015)

Approach Paper on Education, Employment Opportunities and Challenges for Transgender(2013) published by Department of Adult Education, University of Delhi http://socialjustice.nic.in/pdf/appendix5.pdf (Accessed on 16th Aug 2015)


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