After Kolkata, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is all set to launch an educational programme for sex workers and their children in Gujarat.
“Deliberations are on... We are gearing up to launch the programme in July. The idea is to bring them into the mainstream so that with the help of education they can establish their capacity building,” IGNOU Regional Director Dr Sujit K Ghosh said.
“In a conventional system it is difficult for them (sex workers) to seek education, and find an institute of repute to count on for career making,” he said.
“We are in the process of identifying a suitable centre for learning for the programme..it is yet to be finalised,” Ghosh said.
In a benchmark, IGNOU in 2008 had first launched this educational programme in Kolkata, where over 300 sex workers and their children had got enrolled, and have benefited, he said.
The programme enables the students to gain eligibility for the degree programme in university.Being a marginalised lot, sex workers in the country have very few rights.
The programme launch in Gujarat is significant, as the women of Sarania community (a denotified tribe), in Vadia village of Gujarat, have been into prostitution as a ''tradition'' for years now.The Sarania community originally hails from Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, IGNOU, which is offering bachelors and degree programmes to the jail inmates in Gujarat is considering to start offering them a Ph.D programme.
“We have enrolled over 1,300 inmates in all the jails of Gujarat. We offer them bachelors and masters programme and are now considering to enrol them for Ph.D programmes also,” Ghosh said. Amongst the largest distance education providing university, IGNOU is trying to identify resource persons from within the jail campus for its MBA programme for the inmates.
“Several (nearly 30) students have enrolled for our MBA programme. The most interesting and difficult part is to identify teachers for their counselling. As per jail protocol we are trying to identify the resource person within the campus of jail,” Ghosh said.
“We will be appointing jail inmates as our teachers within the jail. For this, we have collected bio-datas of inmates having masters degree, Ph.D degree, M.Ed, who can potentially take up such type of programmes,” he said.