Thursday, Feb 13, 2003
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By G. Mahadevan
The appeal by the university and the centre to the Government for financial help has also drawn a blank. The reply has been that the university should itself shoulder the financial burden of the centre from its grant money.
The centre, which was set up in the late 1980s, is now run by an honorary director and two research personnel. For the last two years, the university has been paying the salaries of the centre staff.
Meanwhile, the centre has come under criticism for allegedly failing to turn out research work to match the amount of money spent on it. The centre has not undertaken any major project in the recent past, according to highly-placed university sources.
Says a Kariavattom-based university professor, "The Centre for Women's Studies has not been very active in the matter of research work. There was lots of activity immediately after the centre was set up, but during the 90s things went downhill. Now the centre seems to be doing little more than organising seminars and workshops.''
The honorary director, Indu Kumari, who is also the head of the Department of Sociology, when contacted, said the centre was not able to undertake any major initiative due to an acute fund crunch.
According to her, out of the Rs. 15 lakhs allocated for the centre by the UGC in its Ninth Plan fund, only about Rs. 4 lakhs had reached the centre via the university.
The centre was also not getting its share of the sum collected by the university from each student for the purpose of funding women's studies, she said. If at all the UGC has indicated a stoppage of funds, it was because the university had failed to provide utilisation certificates for the funds given so far.
She, however, denied the charges that the centre had become inactive. At present, it was placing more emphasis on conducting awareness and outreach programmes than on pure research projects.
The centre was also working closely with Women's Studies Units in 63 colleges in the university, she said.
Dr. Indu Kumari said the centre had recently conducted a study on households in Kerala which were headed by women. It had also submitted proposals for studies on domestic violence and related topics to the UGC.
The director said the centre also planned to offer an M.Phil programme in gender studies from the next academic year and to offer on-campus pre-marital and adolescent counselling services, depending on the availability of funds.
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