By Tenzin Monlam
Protesters in Xining demand equal education for ethnic minority groups, Jan. 24, 2016. Photo:
DHARAMSHALA, January 29: A group of Tibetan and Muslim students and their parents stood outside a Chinese government offices in Xining to protest against poor state of education of minority communities in Palung County.
The protesters who were parents and students of Tibetan and Muslim origin demanded a probe into the activities of education department’s head of the Bayan Khar Hui Autonomous County (Palung) in Qinghai’s Tsoshar prefecture.
They were demanding better funding for education of ethnic minority groups in the Qinghai Province, according to a source. “The protesters were parents and students of Tibetan and Muslim origin belonging to a local school called the Gangjong School,” the source told RFA on condition of anonymity. “They are demanding the right to equal education opportunities as granted by the Communist Party and the government.”
The protesters were photographed holding a banner with Chinese and Tibetan language that reads, “We protest against the head of the (county) education department, Ma Trinlung, for suppressing the right to minority education in poverty-stricken areas and for blocking implementation of the nationalities education policy.”
The source said that under Ma’s administration, the standard of spoken and written Tibetan has ‘dramatically declined’ in villages of Palung County.
The Gangjong School, founded in 2005 with help from local businesses, teaches Tibetan, Chinese, English and other subjects to the Tibetan and Muslim students of the nearby areas.
Despite Central government agreeing to provide additional support and facilities, the source alleged that the county education department has not allocated the funds where they were due. RFA sources also accused the education department of belittling the Tibetan language by withholding funds for its teaching in schools in the area, according to the RFA.
According to one source, the school authorities had approached the authorities in Xining many times but without success. “So now the parents and students of the Gangjong School have staged a sit-in protest, urging an investigation by higher-ups in the government.”