As Ladakhi students in different cities organised peaceful protests demanding a full-fledged university for Ladakh on Thursday, business establishments of Leh remained shut for half a day on supporting the demand of the students.
The call for business establishment to remain shut was given by Merchant Association Leh with support from all religious organisations.
At Leh, students under the banner of Students Organisation of Unified Ladakh (SOUL) staged a protest at Chhaktsalgang, near Leh Gate, as didn’t manage to get a permission to hold a rally on the district administration for some reason.
Student leaders including President All Ladakh Students Association Jammu (ALSAJ) Lobzang Norboo, President SOUL Rigzin Dorjay and representative from EJM Degree College Leh highlighted the problems being faced by Ladakhi students in absence of a full-fledged University in Ladakh itself.
Arguing that establishment of a full-fledged University in Ladakh would solve all problems students have to face in the absence of a university, students organisations submitted a joint memorandum addressed to the Governor, Satya Pal Malik, through the office of the Deputy Commissioner Leh.
“We, the undersigned student leaders of different student organisations of Ladakh would like to express our profound concern at the deplorable condition of higher education in Ladakh, Leh and Kargil. All colleges in Ladakh are affiliated to Kashmir University and its inadvertent work culture amidst problems in Kashmir hugely affects the studies of students in Ladakh,” read the memorandum. It added that students’ community makes up 40 per cent of the total population of Ladakh and a university in Ladakh has been its long cherished dream.
According to Ladakhi students, while there are eleven universities in Jammu and Kashmir out of which six are in Jammu and five in Kashmir, not even one exists in the entire Ladakh region.
“About 90 per cent of students from Ladakh have to take refuge in different universities across India for higher studies and the remaining only 10 per cent studies in Ladakh due to financial and domestic problems. The sole reason for this migration is poor quality of education in colleges and the absence of a university. Ladakh spends its largest share of economy on this defective education system and this drainage of economy can be capped if the same education is made available in Ladakh,” student activists raised in their memorandum.
They further argued that many students drop out and quit their education due to psychological, physical and financial problems students have to go through outside Ladakh.
“A university in Ladakh could specialise itself in the domain of Mountain Studies, Environmental Studies, Climate Change Studies, Glacier and Water Studies, Geology, Buddhism, Sustainability and other field of sciences, which can add values to higher studies programs in India. Considering its high-altitude location, a university in Ladakh can even draw students and researchers from other countries to study highly specialised subjects,” students apprised the Governor through their representation.
Meanwhile, a similar protest rally was taken out in Jammu seeking a separate university to meet out the educational requirement of the area.