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Hope for solution to JNU’s charging of int’l student fees on Tibetans in India?

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(TibetanReview.net, May02’22) – Kalon (Minister) Mrs Tharlam Dolma Changra of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) at Dharamshala has on Apr 28 met with Vice-Chancellor Prof Santishree D Pandit of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), possibly raising hope for a solution to the long-standing problem of Tibetans living in India having to pay international student fees for admission there.

During the interaction with the Vice-Chancellor of one of India’s top universities, the Kalon, joined by Secretary Jigmey Namgyal of the CTA’s Education Department, apprised Prof Pandit about the problems faced by Tibetan students, who are mostly third and fourth generation residents of India, after the huge fee hike which was made some years ago.

Pandit was appointed the JNU’s 13th Vice-Chancellor by India’s Ministry of Education on Feb 7, 2022.

It was not clear whether the Tibetans received any assurance from the Vice-chancellor on this issue. The CTA’s May 2 report on the meeting posted on its Tibet.net website did not contain any mention of its outcome.

Education Kalon Tharlam Dolma Changra with Prof. Santishree D Pandit and other administrators of JNU. (Photo courtesy: CTA)

Most of the university-enrolment-age Tibetans living in India are legally citizens of the country, being offspring of parents born in the country before July 1987, but deemed foreigners under government policy. They have studied in the Indian school system in Tibetan schools which are mostly government of India-funded.

Tibetan students have apparently no problem if they apply as general category students. But because the government of India considers them foreigners, and requires them to register as such, most of them apply in this category.

Like some other universities in India, including Delhi University and Banaras Hindu University, JNU used to charge general category student fees on Tibetan students, irrespective of their enrolment status. However, this changed some years ago, rendering admission at the JNU beyond the means of most of the Tibetan applicants.

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