Free Tibet’s research partner Tibet Watch has learned that in early August this year, Chinese authorities in Tehor Rongbacha Township in Kham Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture has ordered Gyalten Getza school to change the school’s curriculum and medium of instruction to Chinese and take the school’s examinations in the Chinese language. This notice warned the staff to comply with the order or face a forced shutdown of the school.
According to the source, “China is destroying the Tibetan nation and nationality by implementing policies that eradicate the Tibetan language by restricting the space for Tibetans to learn and teach the Tibetan language in school.” Elaborating further on the widespread concerns in the region, the source added, “Tibetans in the region are concerned about this approach to debase the Tibetan language as the larger part of the sinicization of Tibet.”
Gyaltsen Getsa Tibetan school was established on 1 October 1994 and named after its founder Gyalten Lobsang Jampa Rinpoche. This school has a kindergarten facility and also provides free primary school education for up to sixth grade. An additional year of education of level equivalent to eighth grade is also provided. Various subjects are taught, such as Tibetan, English, Chinese, Maths, Tibetan medicine, vocational classes, painting, tailoring etc. Last year, 170 out of 377 students were enrolled in vocational and technical courses. This school has 35 teachers, and 642 students have successfully graduated from this school. Since its establishment, the school has provided free education to more than 1000 students.
Sichuan Provincial Education Commission recognised the school for its immense contribution to society. The school and its founder are held in high regard by the Tibetans in the region. The founder of this school, Venerable Gyalten Lobsang Jampa, hails from a humble family and was recognized as the reincarnation of Gyaltsen Rinpoche of the Tashi Dhargyal monastery in Tehor Rongbacha township in Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in 1949 at the age of three. He is currently a representative of the National People’s Congress and the Vice President of the Sichuan Buddhist Association.
This news follows previous reports from Tibet Watch about the forced closure of Sengdruk Taktse Middle School on 8 July, and China’s nationwide restrictions on private education and tutoring entities. The amendment to the Private Education Promotion Law, issued in May this year, resulted in a rising number of private school owners in China being forced to cede their institution to the state. A report by the Financial Times on 11 August stated statistics of the impact of this recent change, “China has almost 190,000 private schools, educating more than 56 million, or one-fifth of all students, according to official figures. There are more than 12,000 primary and middle schools. Beijing wants to reduce the proportion of non-high-school students attending for-profit schools from more than ten percent to less than five percent as soon as the end of this year, according to people familiar with the discussions.”
Information supplied by Tibet Watch