Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay addressing the First Tibetan Teachers' Meeting in Dharamshala on January 3, 2013. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, January 4: More than 150 Tibetan teachers and administrators from all over India are currently meeting in the exile headquarters of Dharamshala for a first of its kind meeting organised by the Education Department of the Central Tibetan Administration.
The three-day ‘First Tibetan Teachers’ Meeting’ began Thursday aimed at promoting an open discussion on ways to develop the education system in Tibetan schools. Teachers and officials of the Education Department will be sharing their views and suggestions on a wide range of topics.
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people, who is also the Kalon of the Department of Education, presided over the inaugural ceremony held at the Tibetan Children’s Village School, Lower Dharamshala.
Sikyong Sangay in his address recalled his school life and spoke about the education system in Tibetan schools.
He noted that improving the education system would take teamwork over a long period of time.
“Improving the education system will take our joint effort of not just two or three years but rather, we all should work together like our five fingers,” Sikyong Sangay, who is a product of the Central School for Tibetan, Darjeeling said.
“The Administration is to provide all the facilities, school heads must utilise those facilities, teachers are to teach, students are to study, and parents and relatives of the students must also play their roles.”
He further emphasised that literacy rate should not be the sole benchmark of academic competence and excellence.
(Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
“The literacy rate of Tibetans in exile is 84 per cent and population wise, we are better than India, Nepal, and Bangladesh,” the Harvard law graduate said. “But even though we are better in reading and writing rate, it is also obvious that we lack the quality to become experts.”
The meeting comes on the heels of the recent launch of the Tibet Education Project
, a two-year programme, aimed at improving the quality of education opportunities for Tibetan refugee students in India and Nepal.
The USD 2 million project includes intensification of teacher development and training; expansion of Scholarship Program; Scale the Counseling Program; prioritising Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education; providing Test Preparation and Coaching for Secondary School Students and Improve Educational Management
In line with the 14th Kashag’s prioritisation of education, the exile administration also recently announced new scholarship schemes
representing a 50 percent increase in its annual scholarship funding.
The Department of Education currently oversees 73 Tibetan schools – excluding the pre-primary sections and private schools – in India and Nepal under different autonomous administrative bodies. There are around 24,000 students and 2,200 staff members in these schools.