DHARAMSALA, 1 Sept: Tibetan students at Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) cry out for help as the issue of exorbitant fee hike for foreign students applied unfairly to them remains unresolved and has adversely impacted the strength of Tibetan students in the university. “This is to bring to the kind attention of all the stakeholders that the 1000 per cent fee hike for Tibetan students at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is posing grave challenges to Tibetan students to complete studies and get admission,” read an urgent appeal penned by concerned Tibetan Students at JNU. JNU’s fee hike for foreign students affected in July 2019 was applied unfairly to Tibetan students treating them as foreigners rather than refugees in India unlike the other Educational institutions in the country. The fees for International students studying humanities were raised from 200$ to 2,400$ per year while for the science students it was increased from 200$ to 3,400$. And this steep fee hike, the students said has “negatively impacted the strength of Tibetan students in JNU.” “The number of Tibetan students studying in various programmes from B.A to PhD in JNU has declined from 60 plus to only 13 students at present,” the two-page appeal letter said. It added that though 42 Tibetan students have cleared the entrance exam for 2019-2020, only ten students took admission, that too with the anticipation of the issue getting resolved but to no avail. “As such, three Tibetan students, unfortunately, had to drop out the following semester”. Though the students have approached the likes of the JNU Administration, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Office, New Delhi, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and some influential Tibetans with their grievances with the hope of matter getting resolved, they say “the matter literally disappeared into the oblivion.” As JNU continues to charge Tibetan students with fees applicable to other Foreign students like those from the US, Europe, Australia, Korea, Japan, China, Thailand and Vietnam the students point out that This is not in correspondence to article 6 (clause B & C) of the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy 2014, passed by the Union government of India for Tibetan refugees. Dreading the prospect of other public institutions in India following the footsteps of JNU to hike the fees and its implications, the students have called for the concerned Tibetan authority’s attention yet again over the matter with pleas for greater emphasis on education. “A formulation of a Comprehensive College/University Admission directive for Tibetan students’ need to be attended to, by CTA in consultation with the Union Government of India. And most importantly, education, in general, should be a prime agenda in the electoral manifesto; and a matter of serious discussion and deliberation in the upcoming Sikyong and Tibetan Parliamentary election campaigns,” it ended. As it stands, along with the fee hike for foreign students applied unfairly to the Tibetan students, they have to pay and sit for entrance exams which other foreign students (Absentia Category)are exempted from.
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