The primary institution for economical higher studies, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has made its plans to provide special Under Graduate (UG) programmes for those who work in the sex trade. The programme would get started for sex workers in its Nagpur regional centre. Presently the programme is already running in Kolkata and Ahmedabad centres of the university.
The officials from IGNOU have consulted Indian Red Cross Society about the prospects of the programme and seeking help from them as well. The Indian Red Cross Society has already given permission to the university to start the UG programme and allowed them to train the commercial sex workers at its premises. Apart from taking Indian Red Cross Society under its ambit, the university is also seeking help from various NGOs, so that they can reach to young girls and women associated with the trade and convince them to enroll them for the courses that are being on offer for them.
The standard of living and education among such workers are very low and thus this programme could help the commercial sex workers to educate themselves or their kids, to improve their lives. This could help the families to get ahead of the sex trade and find better possibilities to live their lives with dignity and prosperity.
Amidst all the reports of IGNOU and its course shutdown, this could be seen as a brave initiative to save the face of the university. The enrolment ratio of the students has gone considerably down in last few years. There were around 300 programmes that got cancelled along with 250 community colleges. Some 600 MOUs with many institutions and many on campus and other programmes have become discontinuous. Though there are cuts in courses in each of the departments, the hospitality as well as hotel administration departments are functioning smoothly with its 53 institutes functioning well. The increasing fees of the programmes have also become a point for the students to opt out from the courses. It is important to note that amidst such situation how the university would react to a new course on offer.