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UGC Asks Institutes to Focus on Sports, Rope in Mental Health Professionals to Ensure Students Well-Being

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released the guidelines to ensure the emotional and mental well-being of students enrolled in higher educational institutions of India (HEI).

The guidelines are aimed at promoting physical fitness and sports among students and safeguarding them against any kind of stress caused due to academic pressure, peer pressure or behavioural issues.

The UGC has released the guidelines and has sought feedback from stakeholder including stakeholders, faculty of HEIs, students, parents and others. It has urged the HEIs to make necessary changes in their rules to incorporate the guidelines issues it. In the guidelines, the UGC has emphasised the need to have a vibrant campus life for students. It noted that good campus life is an essential component of a good teaching-learning environment. Further, it wrote that cultural activities must be organized for community service and build a national spirit with a larger humanistic perspective among the students.

The UGC has asked all the HEIs to have Students Services Centre (SSC) which will help students deal with stress and emotional adjustment. The SSC will have mental health counsellors and physical and mental health experts to extend support to students, especially from rural backgrounds, divergent cultural backgrounds, and those with special needs.

The commission has stressed that besides education, the HEIs must focus on students’ physical activities and should encourage them to stay physically as well as mentally fit. It has asked the HEIs to develop indoor and outdoor sports facilities on campus and urged the sports council to create programs and opportunities.

Read|UGC Asks Colleges to Set up ‘Services Centre’ to Cater to Students’ Emotional Needs, Tackle Mental Issues

The UGC has further asked the institutions to avoid taking punitive measures against students that can create a sense of dejection and frustration in their minds. It suggested that universities may initiate structured reform-self-development programs for inculcating values in students and control deviant tendencies among students through adequate measures.

UGS has also suggested that HEIs should sign a MOU with other institutions like AIMS and HBAS which can provide services if special pharmacological intervention or other medical intervention is needed. In addition, the UGC also highlighted the need to have mental health professionals and asked the HEIs to start special courses to prepare such professionals.

These guidelines, according to UGC, will help reduce the drop-out rates. Since the onset of pandemic, special attention is being given to the physiological and emotional health of students. Earlier, the UGC had asked the HEIs to set-up helplines for well-being of students. Moreover, colleges were also instructed to regularly mentor students through emails, interactions, and social media platforms.

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