By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept 13: The remaining six schools governed by the Indian government’s Central Tibetan School Administration (CTSA) are set to be transferred under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education (Sherig) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). The CTA President Penpa Tsering who is currently on an official tour with DoE Secretary Jigme Namgyal and Sambhota Director Tsering Dhondup, has visited some of the schools.
On his visit to Herbertpur School on Sept. 8, Sikyong Penpa Tsering had expressed concern over the declining rate of enrollment, “Where Tibetan students used to be 90%, Tibetan students now constitute only 10% while the remaining 90% is composed of local Indians and students from Himalayan regions.” According to Tibet.net, CST Herbertpur is the second-largest school among the 6 remaining senior secondary schools, which has a total strength of 471 students, out of which 54 are Tibetans and the remaining students are local Indians.
Secretary Jigme Namgyal spoke to Phayul about the challenges in general that lie ahead for the Tibetan schools in exile and the administration, “The challenge of demography in the face of Tibetan schools is imminent. Be it schools in Herbertpur, Shimla or Mussoorie, there are very low number of Tibetan students in these institutions. It is not only a challenge for CTSA schools, but a growing concern for all the branches of Tibetan education system. The decline in Tibetans coming from Tibet since 2008, annual birth rate of exile Tibetans, and the increasing rate at which Tibetans are migrating to the West are some of the core factors which have led to these shifts.”
“Sambhota Tibetan School Society (STSS), Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV), and Tibetan Homes’ Foundation (THF) in India need to come together to create a liberal environment for change. Questions regarding the possible integration or consolidation of schools will become important aspects for future deliberation,” he further noted.
According to CTA, a total of 55 Tibetan schools comprising 33 primary schools, 9 secondary schools, 5 senior secondary schools, and 8 K-12 schools have successfully been transferred from the CTSA to STSS administered by the Education department since 2013.
CST Mussoorie, CST Shimla, CST Dalhousie, CST Kalimpong, CST Darjeeling and CST Herbertpur are the respective learning institutes that are soon expected to undergo transition from Indian government to the jurisdiction of the CTA.
With the takeover imminent, the spokesperson told Phayul that the enrolled students in those schools won’t be affected, “The transition won’t affect the students already enrolled and the curriculum will remain the same as per the CBSE guidelines. We will only provide better resources and facilities in the concerned schools.”
On Monday, the President met with the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Govt. of India, Smt. Lamchonghoi Sweety Changsan and concerned officials of CTSA in Delhi to reportedly discuss “key procedures” for the transfer of the schools.
The Indian government reportedly directed CTA in May to undergo administration change by 31st March, 2022.