The most fundamental problems affecting university life today is violence. The ritual of ragging imposes a culture of servility, submission and complacence. Mental and physical harassment and sexual and gender based violence including murder are carried out in the guise of ragging. Many students unable to cope give up their dreams of higher education while some commit suicide. However ragging and gender-based violence remains a hidden practice underreported fearing retribution from seniors, and its perpetrators under penalized, despite the penal code and other laws that reinforce its gravity as a criminal action.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) through the Standing Committee on Gender Equity/Equality (GEE) appointed in October 2015 and the Centre for Gender Equity/Equality established in September 2016 embarked on a significant and timely national initiative with the aim of creating a violence-free safer place where students and staff dignity and equal rights are ensured, with an underlying principle of zero tolerance of ragging and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)
Plan of Action on addressing ragging and SGBV adopts a holistic three – pronged approach of Prevention, intervention and Policy Advocacy
- POLICY ADVOCACY
- Standing Committee of GEE was established on October 2015.
- Centre for Gender Equity/Equality (CGEE) with a Director within University Grants Commission has been established.
- Gender cells / committee with universities established and policies in place in number of universities.
- Contributed to multi-sectoral workshops on “Policy Framework and National Plan of Action to address Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Sri Lanka” organized by Ministry of Women and Child Affairs .
- A centralised Online Complaints System for both students and staff to file complaints of ragging on-line has been established in collaboration with the UGC of India. It is housed at the UGC under its management. It is operational across the 15 Sri Lankan State Universities.Awareness creation on Online Complaints Mechanism for university executives (Council members, Vice-Chancellors, Registrars and Deans of all state universities) on the newly established Online Complaints System. Students too are being informed of it and encouraged to report. Students are filing complaints of ragging on the Online Complaints System. UGC is monitoring it with the Universities.• It is compulsory now that students and the parents be made to sign a form online (affidavit) saying that they understand the Anti-Ragging Act and will submit to penalties imposed under the Act.