In a controversial move, the Telangana government has said that 'only' unmarried women are eligible to study in social welfare residential women's degree colleges.
According to a report by the Times of India, a notification by the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS) has said that only unmarried women were eligible to apply in these colleges.
Inviting applications for admissions into the residential degree colleges, the notification said, "The TSWREIS invites applications from women (unmarried) candidates for admission into BA/B.Com/B.Sc 1st year degree courses for the academic year 2017-18."
4,000 married women are already studying in these hostels and will move to the second year in the coming academic year, TOI reported.
Telangana has 23 residential degree colleges for women with each having an intake capacity of 280 students per year. From education to food, everything is given free of cost to the students in these colleges.
While 75 per cent of the seats are reserved for scheduled castes (SCs), the remaining 25 per cent are for STs/BCs and general category.
If the move itself wasn’t bizarre enough, TSWREIS content manager B Venkat Raju has an equally strange logic to back it up. According to Raju, it has been done to “ensure that other girls in the residential degree colleges do not get distracted.”
"The intention to ensure that other girls in the residential degree colleges do not get distracted because there is every possibility of husbands visiting their wives weekly once or in a fortnight. We do not want any kind of distraction among students," Raju was quoted as saying by the daily.
Society secretary Dr R S Praveen Kumar said the purpose of residential degree colleges for women was to break the cycle of child marriages.
He said that colleges “won't prevent them if they approach for admission.”
"We don't encourage married women but at the same time won't prevent them if they approach us for admission. Our intention is neither to deny nor hurt any one's feelings," he said .
State’s welfare colleges are aimed at the upliftment of the poor, especially poor women, according to its website.
"The Society has been working with the noble aim of providing quality education to the needy and deprived children on par with the other advantaged children. The TSWREIS has been catering to the dire educational needs of the marginalized children especially Scheduled Caste (SC) children hailing from the remote rural areas of Telangana,” TSWREIS website says.
“Apart from providing quality education to the children, the Society is making determined efforts to create an environment that builds their confidence levels, leadership and communication skills to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” it further says.