In order to provide aid and relief to transgender students, the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University (MSU) in Tamil Nadu has announced that it will waive the tuition fee for any member of the community to enroll in the university.
This unprecedented move will be applicable to 27 departments within the university as well as all of its 10 constituent colleges.
According to K. Baskar, vice-chancellor of the university, the decision was made keeping in mind the kind of economic struggles and discrimination faced by transgender people on a regular basis.
Image for representation. Photo source: Wikimedia
He was quoted by The Hindu as saying, “After getting neglected by the society and even by their parents, the transgenders are forced to beg on the streets. If we can create a favorable condition for acquiring better educational qualifications, it will enable them to occupy enviable positions in government or private institutions.”
The new rule will come into force from this academic year and voted in by the university’s Syndicate Committee members with overwhelming majority.
Strides being made in the trans rights movement
It was in only in 2014, when the Supreme Court of India laid out its landmark judgement granting transgender people the status of a third gender, thus granting them rights that could have been denied earlier. Since then the option for a “third” gender was included in railway forms, voter IDs as well as the passport. Additionally, in December 2016, Kerala opened India’s first school catering exclusively to the transgender community to help those who dropped out get the education they deserve.
However, there is still widespread discrimination faced by members of the community. Commitments made by universities like MSUs will go a long way in ensuring everyone part of the society in treated equally and has access to the same rights.