By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, May 2: The rising fees imposed on Foreign Nationals (FN), including Tibetan students at New Delhi’s prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University since 2019, saw a further development on Monday when CTA Education Minister (Sherig Kalon) Tharlam Dolma met with the newly appointed JNU Vice-Chancellor. Teacher. Santishree D Pandit to discuss the plight of young Tibetan students.
“There has been growing concern among Tibetan aspirants over the rising fees as many have been unable to pay the required amount. JNU VC said she would look into the matter as we told her how these Tibetans, mostly third or fourth generation, come from CBSE affiliated schools and cannot afford the same amount that foreign nationals are subject to said Secretary Jigme Namgyal, who accompanied Sherig. Kalon during the visit, Phayul said. However, he also noted that this issue cannot be resolved immediately but hopes that the JNU administration finds a mechanism to work through the current fee structure to accommodate young Tibetans.
The exorbitant increase in tuition fees has been increased in 2019 from $200 per year to $2400 for humanities (INR 1,82,400) and $3,400 for sciences (INR 2,58,400) per year excluding food and d ‘accommodation. Tibetan aspirants have since struggled to enroll in any of the leading educational institutions in India due to the financial difficulties faced by families from low-income backgrounds.
“Personally, I tried to look for different scholarships in order to reach the required amount. I have also noticed that some are withdrawing from the prospect of enrolling after telling them about the tuition,” a student currently enrolled at the university, who wished to remain anonymous, told Phayul. The growing concern, according to many students, is the debilitating number of Tibetans on the JNU campus, known for its unique discursive academic space in India.
JNU PhD candidate Kalsang Nyima in an editorial published in Tibetan Review last year said the new fee structure had created a “great wall” against aspirants and urged CTA leaders to address the issue immediately. “The JNU campus is actually a microcosm of India as a whole. It reflects all social problems and a functional and participatory democracy to find solutions, which makes it the best training ground for “ma ‘ong bod kyi son rtsa” (seed of the future Tibet), which should support the valuable democratic community in exile,” he added.
The exorbitant fee hike was first implemented in 2019, the same year a total of 42 Tibetan students passed the entrance through the foreign quota, but only 10 students were able to pay the extra fee. Three students dropped out of their respective programs the following semester because they could not afford the additional fees.