Chorus grows for varsity in Ladakh
Ladakhi students press for a separate university. Tribune file Photo
Having almost two-thirds of the geographical area of the state, Ladakh’s demand for a university or an institute of higher learning in the region has been pending for long. Nearly 30,000 Ladakhi students are forced to take admission outside their region for higher studies.
This issue is snowballing into a major controversy as students of the Ladakh region had recently called for a shutdown in Ladakh, while those studying in Jammu had hit the roads demanding immediate establishment of a full-fledged university in the region.According to official sources, the enrolment in Ladakh colleges has come down drastically due to the delay in examination and declaration of results. Consequently, students are forced to take admissions in universities outside Ladakh, particularly in Chandigarh, Delhi or Jammu.
“There should a full-fledged university in the region as students don’t have many options here. This is a genuine demand of Ladakh,” said Leh MLA and senior Congress leader Nawang Rigzin Jora, who said the satellite campus of the Kashmir University was set up in Leh when he was the Cabinet minister in the Omar Abdullah government in 2010-11.
The MLA, however, claimed that the degree colleges had better faculty and education as compared to the colleges outside Ladakh. “There are 5,000-odd students from Ladakh studying in Jammu, out which nearly 2,500 are in higher secondary schools. We can’t stop them because they are there because of their choice,” Jora said.
Leh BJP chief Jamyang Tsering Namgyal said, “Grave injustice has been done with the Ladakh region in terms of higher education facilities. We were given a lollipop when we were demanding a full-fledged Central University for Ladakh in 2010. A satellite campus of the Kashmir University was set up while sabotaging our demand for the Central University. This demand is genuine and legitimate. Our students are forced to opt for far-away universities and colleges.”
Lobzang Norbu, president of All Ladakh Students Association Jammu (ALSAJ), claimed, “More than 3,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students from Ladakh are forced to pursue higher studies outside the region because of the government’s insensitivity towards Ladakh. Only a separate and dedicated University could serve as a catalyst to churn out trained human resources and productive regional workforce needs to boost the region’s capacity-building”.
- The Jammu region, which has just 25.93 per cent of the geographical area in the state, has six universities, an IIT and an IIM.
- The Kashmir valley, with just 16 per cent of the geographical area of the state, has five universities and a National Institute of Technology.
- Ladakh which has nearly 58 per cent of the total area of the state with a population of around 2.80 lakh, does not have even one university. The five degree colleges in Ladakh are affiliated to the University of Kashmir, which has set up two off-site campuses in Kargil and Leh.