While venturing upon the task of exploring the dynamics behind the establishment of Dorjee Khandu Government College, Tawang (Formerly Government College, Tawang) we have been prompted to understand the broader contexts which are relevant for its origin. The first context for the growth of modern education was created by the independence of India in 1947 and preliminary steps taken thereafter in the erstwhile North East Frontier during the Nehruvian era. The common dictum of that phase was-
“We cannot allow the matters to drift in the tribal area or just not take interest in them…..It is between these two extreme positions that we have to function…..Avenues of development should be….. pursued within the broad framework of the following principles…..We should try to train and build up a team of their own people to do work of administration and development…..We should judge results, not by statistics or the amount of money spent, but by the quality of human character that is evolved”.
~Jawaharlal Nehru’s Foreword in Verrier Elvin, A Philosophy of NEFA~
Accordingly the educational aims and objectives in Arunachal Pradesh (the then NEFA) were enumerated as follows:
“It is essential that education in the more specialized sense should be integrated with this wider education. The schools must also aim at inspiring a love of India, at teaching cleanliness, better ways of cultivation, the preservation of wildlife, at spreading the ideals of justice, equality and humanity…..The aim of education in NEFA is twofold…We have first to discover and develop boys and girls of exceptional promise, and train them up to the highest standard possible so that they can in time take their place as leaders and administrators of their own people. But…..for the great mass of tribesmen…..a simple and elementary type of schooling is required…..a combination of ordinary and basic education suitably adjusted to tribal needs. But in both cases it is essential to guard against the dangers of detribalization”.
~Verrier Elvin, A Philosophy of NEFA, pp.190-191~
Under the above watchwords, the schools for imparting elementary and basic education were opened in different parts of NEFA with very few Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools and later on an undergraduate college in its central-eastern parts at Pasighat. However, in the then Kameng Division, the traditional system of imparting theological education through Buddhist monasteries continued to be a reckoning force. Hence, the formal education system made a late beginning here and experienced a slow growth rate. As a result, there was no Higher Secondary School here till the nineteen sixties.
However, the democratization of political processes in Arunachal Pradesh after the attainment of the Union Territory status created a new context of development in the late nineteen seventies, which also included the growth of modern education. After the constitution of an elected Assembly, the political leaders of Arunachal Pradesh laid emphasis over the integration of the region with national mainstream and its impacts were discernible in all walks of public life including the educational system. Now the watchword of educational aim showed a significant shift in tune with the existing aim of education at the national level:
Education is a liberating force, and in our age it is also a democratizing force, cutting across the barriers of caste and class, smoothening out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances. ~Indira Gandhi~
As a result of the above ideational shift, we observe a very high rate of growth and development of educational institutions in the eighties and nineties of the 20th Century. By the 1980s the old Kameng District was having 03 Higher Secondary Schools along with an undergraduate College at Bomdila. In the year 1980 erstwhile Kameng District was divided into 02 districts namely East Kameng and West Kameng districts. Further, the Tawang district was carved out of the West Kameng district in 1984. The objectives behind these divisions were the acceleration of the developmental processes.
In the beginning of the 21st Century there had been altogether 05 Secondary and 02 Higher Secondary Schools in the East Kameng, 06 Secondary and 05 Higher Secondary Schools in the West Kameng and 03 Secondary and 02 Higher Secondary Schools in the Tawang districts which formed the feeder schools for the solitary Government Degree College at Bomdila. Within the first decade of the present century more such schools were opened by the central bodies like, KendriyaVidyalayaSangathan and JawaharNavodayaVidyalayaSangathan for more vigorous growth of secondary and post secondary education. Considerable rise in the number of students were also recorded during the period necessitating the opening of additional colleges. As a result, the Government Model College at Seppa was established in 2009.However,the Tawang district still did not have a college and the students from the district had to perform a tortuous journey of more than 180 kilometers up to Bomdila for access to higher education. With the establishment of a Government College at Tawang vide Government of Arunachal Pradesh Notification No. ED/HE/PLG-592/2016, Dated 16th June, 2016 and the approval for the commencement of the first Academic Session of the college Vide No. ED/HE/PLG-592/2016/761-73, Dated 17th May, 2017(first Academic Session commenced from July, 2017), the aspirations of the stakeholders of the Tawang district have been fulfilled. Moreover, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh Vide Notification No. ED/HE-160/2017, Dated 17th October, 2017 has already accorded the introduction of Hindi in addition to English, Economics, Geography, History and Political Science from Academic Session 2018-19. However, Government College, Tawang has been dedicated to Karamveer Late Shri Dorjee Khandu, former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh and rechristened and renamed as Dorjee Khandu Government College, Tawang by the Government of Arunachal Pradesh Vide Notification No. ED/HE-13 (Aca)/2009 Pt., Dated 25thJuly, 2018.
The present era of liberalization and globalization requires the exploitation of the potentials of the knowledge economy, which is possible only with the development of suitable skill sets. This necessitates the introduction of more and more vocational and application-oriented courses. Further, the foregoing discussion on educational scenarios in the region is also indicative of a time lag in the development of education in this remote tribal and border region which can be bridged only with a well planned faster rate of development. We hope that the present beginning shall be a grand beginning in the consolidation of the institution in the future.