More than 20 students from Manipur whose studies have been disrupted by the violence in the state since May have come to Kerala to pursue higher studies under a special arrangement made by Kannur University.
The varsity syndicate has accorded a special sanction to admit students fleeing Manipur, under which 23 students from the Kuki community, 10 of them girls, landed at Kannur International Airport on Tuesday, with more likely to arrive in the coming days.
“We are accommodating these students based on a decision taken at a syndicate meeting held on August 7 to grant admission to any student affected by the violence in Manipur, either at our campuses or in affiliated colleges,” university syndicate member Pramod Vellachal told The Telegraph on Wednesday.
An associate professor of English at Mahatma Gandhi College in Kannur’s Iritty, Pramod, said the university had received the names of over 70 Manipuri students interested in joining the varsity in the north Kerala city.
“These students got to know about our university and the educational facilities in Kerala from Malayali teachers and lecturers working in Manipur,” he said.
The Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) contacted the varsity after they failed to get any response from central universities and the University Grants Commission to accommodate students who had to discontinue their studies because of the violence, the professor said.
A delegation of CPM parliamentarians had earlier visited Manipur and invited affected students from both the Meitei and Kuki communities to complete their education in Kerala.
Several colleges in Kerala have vacant seats since many Malayali students fly to the West for higher education.
“Since Malayali students have been flying abroad for higher studies, we have sufficient vacant seats in several colleges. We are also trying to make arrangements for some kind of scholarship for the Manipuri students,” said Pramod, who is coordinating their admissions.
The students are seeking admission to a range of streams across academic years. “They are looking at admissions for first, second and third-year undergraduate courses in various streams, post-graduate courses and PhD,” he said.
Kannur University has also relaxed the requirement of submitting hard copies of educational qualifications since most of the students have lost them in arson back home. “We have given them time until they complete whatever course they are enrolling into here to apply for duplicate copies and produce them before the completion of their courses with us,” Pramod said.
All the 23 students have been accommodated at the university’s guest house in Kannur. “We will get them admitted to colleges with hostel facilities and set up a mechanism under which hostel wardens will take care of their welfare,” he said.
Goulungmon Haokip, who is seeking LLB admission, told this newspaper that at least 10 more students are ready to join Kannur University. “We were struggling to get admission when the KSO guided us to this university. We are thankful to the university and the Kerala government for accommodating us.”
“We are all so relieved that several colleges in Kannur have offered to take us. Now we can at least complete our education,” Haokip added.
The Kerala government has already started admitting school students from Manipur. The first student, a girl child, was admitted last month to a government school in Thiruvananthapuram without any documents.