Tamil Nadu exempts higher edu fees for jail inmates in TNOU

A senior official from the Higher Education Department told DT Next that because of the financial crisis, most jail inmates, transpeople and widows would opt out of higher studies, and therefore, the government has decided to encourage them by providing higher education to them free of cost.
Tamil Nadu exempts higher edu fees for jail inmates in TNOU
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CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government has decided to exempt fees for jail inmates who want to pursue courses at Tamil Nadu Open University. In addition, transpeople and destitute widows could also join the institution without having to pay a fee.

A senior official from the Higher Education Department told DT Next that because of the financial crisis, most jail inmates, transpeople and widows would opt out of higher studies, and therefore, the government has decided to encourage them by providing higher education to them free of cost.

Stating that the scheme would be implemented in the coming academic year, he said, “The scheme will be applicable in Tamil Nadu Open University for various courses such as degree programmes, skill development programmes including certificate, diploma, vocational diploma, postgraduate diploma.”

The official further stated that at present, only the University of Madras has decided to offer one free seat for transgender students in each affiliated college for UG courses from the coming academic year. “However, there is no seat limit for transpeople to get free education in Tamil Nadu Open University,” he added.

Claiming that at present, jail inmates pay fees to pursue higher education through distance education programmes conducted by various universities, he said, “the free higher education scheme will benefit many prisoners who want to pursue their course of choice through the proper channels.” “The government’s move to include destitute widows in the scheme came against the backdrop of their financial situation.

The Higher Education Department also received several letters and emails, especially from women seeking scholarships to take up courses in government colleges citing their poor financial situation,” the official said.

He added that course material will be distributed free of cost to the beneficiaries. “Everyone will be treated as euquals. There will be no disparity while prisoners, destitute women and transpeople pursue higher education. It would be on a par with current standards,” he said.

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