New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government Arts Colleges (GACs) have been ordered to open to women for the first time in a major overhaul of the government’s post-graduate education system.
The government announced the changes on Tuesday, three months after the government launched its first gender-neutral government college and the first post-graduation course for women in the country.
“The changes are very important,” said Akshay Kumar, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
“The first two days are a big moment, but the first days of the rest of the year will be the biggest.”
The move comes as the government gears up for its first major event of the next year, a major national campaign to bring more women to the workforce, which is expected to raise more than $6 billion for the government.
The first GACs will be inaugurated by the prime minister in New York in December and the second by the Indian prime minister at the United Nations in March.
The government plans to spend around $30 million for the program.
The GAC program will be launched with the goal of giving women more opportunities to work and achieve higher levels of education.
“The idea is that there will be a significant increase in the participation rate in higher education and therefore in the workforce,” Kumar said.
“Women’s participation will go up because they will have to make decisions on how to invest their money in their own future.
That will create more economic opportunities for women.”
The new government’s plans to make the post-secondary education system gender-blind and to allow women to study abroad without a visa have attracted the ire of human rights groups.
The government’s plan to set up two more government colleges, which would open later this year, was also seen as discriminatory against women, human rights advocates said.
Groups including the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Amnesty International have slammed the government for its policies, saying they discriminate against women and that it will have an impact on women’s lives.
India is the world’s second-largest exporter of girls and women, but is also one of the poorest countries in the world.
The country has seen a surge in violent attacks against women in recent years, and the number of women killed in the line of duty in the past five years has been among the highest in the developed world.
(AP)”The GOCs are a huge step forward in the right direction, but more needs to be done,” said Sushma Swaraj, India’s prime minister.
“We must ensure that women can participate in the labour market, and that the government ensures that the education system is gender-sensitive.
That means women must have access to the postgraduate education, the post graduate courses and the post grad work experience.”