News and Views on Tibet

Chinese officials shut down Tibetan school in Golog

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Co-founder Khandrul Jigme Kunsang Gyaltsen during 2020 graduation ceremony (Photo/RFA)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, July 22: The Chinese government officials ordered the closure of Sengdruk Taktse middle school in Darlak County, Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on July 8 without giving any reason for the shutdown. The students have been advised to enroll themselves in government-affiliated schools in the region, revealed a report published by Tibet Watch. A week after the centenary celebration of the CCP, the school was directed to study in schools instead of monasteries as the majority of students are monks and tantric practitioners.

Anonymous sources have confirmed that the motive behind the closure is ‘political’ as the school’s primary language of instruction is in Tibetan, as the government run schools teach in Chinese language. Khandrul Jigme Kunsang Gyaltsen, Co-founder and head of school, during this year’s graduation said in his closing speech that the school’s founding principle has been to provide education to the destitute, orphaned and economically disadvantaged children. He expressed the need for an official clarification by the higher authorities as he explained that the school was established in accordance with the law approved by the concerned county governments and abided by the constitution of CCP.

Sengdruk Taktse middle school previously established as a primary school later received license to become a secondary school in 2008. Concerned alumni students have issued a petition urging the concerned authorities to reconsider the closure as the school has housed orphaned and poor children in the community. Prior to the closure, the school had around 300 students, and over 500 students completed their schooling from the institution in the last 23 years. The educational institution provides both modern education and culture-based learning embossed in Tibetan literature. The school is also known for empowering graduate students with creating job opportunities, by pro-actively competing in the society dominated by Chinese language expertise.

Earlier this year in January, the Director of Legal Affairs Committee Shen Chungyuao announced that schools in “minority areas” were not allowed to teach in their own languages and deemed such education to be “unconstitutional”. The move was in direct contradiction with the founding provisions of the Bilingual Education Law passed in 1951.

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