By Tenzin Sangmo
DHARAMSHALA, May 21: The result of Tibetan Scholarship Program (TSP) -2020 final selection interview declared today saw CTA staff topping the test with first three of the six selected candidates being CTA staff.
The Secretary of Department of Education of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Karma Singey, Brice Isham from US Embassy, Nangsa Choedon, former Secretary of CTA and J.P Das, US Embassy, chaired the panel that conducted the interview round.
Singey said the panel felt that the there has been a great improvement in the quality of aspirants over the years making it harder to select the right candidates.
Although the selected candidates reflect the popularity of Computer Science/Digital Security, Education and Journalism as fields of study, Singey said it wasn’t a conscious decision.
From the 16 males and 15 female candidates shortlisted, six male and five female candidates made the cut, including five listed as alternates.
In 2016, a public announcement was made across the settlements that Toefl IBT score as a precondition was done away with, paving the way for more aspirants to apply for the coveted scholarship program.
According to the data on TSP Alumni Association’s (TSPAA) website, of the 427 alumni listed from 1988 to 2016, only 124 out of 427 or 29% of the candidates were women.
The number of students selected each year has dwindled greatly over the decades. It was common until 2010 to have 15 students selected each year, unlike the dozen or less seen in the last few years.
The program has drawn the ire of the community in the past for its abysmal return rate with many candidates staying back in the US after finishing education.
The return rate has improved exponentially in the last few years reaching a high of 90% or more for consecutive years.
The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State which annually grants approximately $500,000 along with a contribution of $110,000 each year from the Tibet Fund, a non-profit, New York-based educational and cultural institution that coordinates the program along with the Department of Education, CTA.
Since its inception in 1988, the program had enhanced the human resource of the CTA and NGOs in Dharamshala and diaspora with many alumni serving in various capacities.
The CTA President Dr. Lobsang Sangay, a member of TSP ’95 batch had testified that his legal education at Harvard Law School made a profound impact in his life, “As the democratically elected political leader, much of my keen desire in bringing change to the Tibetan society and transforming ideas into action come from my education.”