Renowned Tibetan school ordered to teach in Chinese or face shutdown

Students of Gyalten Getsa school dressed in their best traditional attire for the celebration of the school’s 23rd founding anniversary
Students of Gyalten Getsa school dressed in their best traditional attire for the celebration of the school’s 23rd founding anniversary
23rd August 2021

Founded by a revered Rinpoche, Gyalten Getsa Tibetan school is recognised for its outstanding contributions

Free Tibet's research partner Tibet Watch has learned that in early August this year, Chinese authorities in Tehor Rongbacha Township (Tib:མདོ་ཁམས་ཏྲེ་ཧོར་རོང་པ་ཚ་) in Kham Karze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture has ordered Gyalten Getza school (Tib:རྒྱལ་བསྟན་དགེ་རྩ་སློབ་གྲྭ་) 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."

Gyalten 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 the society and presented awards of recognition such as Outstanding Collective of Social Forces in Sichuan Province (Tib:ཟི་ཁྲོན་ཞིང་ཆེན་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ནུས་པ་ལྡན་པའི་སློབ་འཛུགས་སྔོན་ཐོན་ཚོགས་པའི་བྱ་དགའ་)and Outstanding Individuals of Social Forces in Sichuan Province ((Tib:ཟི་ཁྲོན་ཞིང་ཆེན་སྤྱི་ཚོགས་ནུས་པ་ལྡན་པའི་སློབ་འཛུགས་སྔོན་ཐོན་མི་སྣའི་བྱ་དགའ་).

Gyalten Lobsang Jampa with students holding school certificate on the school’s 23rd founding anniversary
Gyalten Lobsang Jampa with students holding school certificate on the school’s 23rd founding anniversary

The school and its founder is 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 fom 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 10 percent to less than 5 percent as soon as the end of this year, according to people familiar with the discussions."

Information supplied by Tibet Watch

TAKE ACTION

The crackdown on Tibet has steadily worsened over the past decade, following the brutal suppression of huge Tibetan protests before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Now we are approaching another Chinese Communist Party Olympics, as Beijing prepares to host the 2022 Winter Games. History must not be allowed to repeat itself. Join our campaign calling for a boycott of these bloody Olympics