A Tibetan refugee shares how Chinese authorities have been shutting down Tibetan language schools.
As of September 2023, all core curriculum textbooks in Tibetan schools in Ngaba Prefecture have been replaced with Chinese-language variants.
In response to an apparent directive from the state government, teaching staff were summoned to meetings at the beginning of the 2023 academic term and ordered to deliver all classes in Mandarin Chinese. Only the optional Tibetan language classes are to be taught in Tibetan with Tibetan textbooks.
The change is likely to be disruptive; according to a confidential source that Tibet Watch spoke to, schools in Dzoege County in Ngaba “had excelled” in teaching Tibetan majored curriculum in teaching core subjects in the Tibetan language. ”
Tibetan language textbooks will continue to be used for those students who enrolled in 2021. However, once these students have graduated, Tibetan language textbooks will be scrapped entirely from core curriculum subjects.
Ngaba has previously seen protests by Tibetans against the marginalisation of the Tibetan language in the education system. In 2021, Sherab Dorjee, a teenaged student in Ngaba County, appealed to education authorities appealing for his school to be allowed to teach classes in Tibetan.
Information supplied by Tibet Watch.
In March this year, the authorities of Kanzi Prefecture Bureau of Education issued a notice banning Tibetan classes for all middle schools from 2024.
Recognition of China’s residential schools in Tibet is a start, but more still needs to be done to protect Tibet’s children.