IGNOU, one of India’s oldest and largest open university which offers certificate, diploma and degree courses in a large number of streams, has announced that it won’t charge any tuition fee from transgender students. The university will exempt transgender students from paying any fees at all! All they have to do is just submit an identity proof. Identity proof is essential to keep impostors away and ensure that fee waiver is not being misused.
IGNOU holds admissions twice a year and it has already received applications from 100 transgender students this year. The university said that this will help a lot in the empowerment of transgenders, instill confidence in them, and open new avenues for them. The university introduced 3rd gender category in 2012, two years before it was legally recognised by the supreme court. There are demands to provide fee concessions to transgender students, but IGNOU gave a pleasant surprise to everyone by waving off fee altogether. Easy access to higher education will definitely help them and empower them.
IGNOUs regional centre in Kochi conducted the first orientation programme.
This is a welcome step by IGNOU and should extend to the economically deprived and marginalised sections also.