By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 31 March 2019
From the total budget of 2.5 billion rupees approved for the financial year 2019-20 for CTA’s spending by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, 559 million rupees has been allocated for the education sector. This forms the highest amount, corresponding to 22% of the budget.
The Department of Education has got 262 million, and Sambhota Tibetan Schools Society a sum of 297 million rupees.
There are 68 Tibetan schools in India and Nepal educating 19,000 students (2018 data). Of the total, 30 schools are under the Department of Education, administered through Sambhota Tibetan Schools Society. Central Tibetan Schools Administration (CTSA) funded by the Government of India has six schools. Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) runs 16 schools, Tibetan Homes Foundation three, Snow Lion Foundation Schools in Nepal has nine schools, and there are four privately-run Tibetan schools.
Since the Government of India’s approval to transfer CTSA schools to CTA in 2013, all except six schools have been handed over to and are being run by CTA. The decision of the transfer of the remaining six will be taken in 2021. These six are: CST Mussoorie, CST Dalhousie, CST Shimla, CST Kalimpong, CST Darjeeling, and CST Herbertpur.
The schools run under CTA having shown better results in the All-India Secondary and Senior Secondary (class X and XII) examinations, CTSA has been requested to transfer their schools to be run by CTA.
CST Mussoorie is the oldest and the largest Tibetan school, founded after the Dalai Lama came into exile. Tibet Sun has learned that this school has only 50 Tibetan students today. CST Shimla has less than 50, and CST Dalhousie has only 15 Tibetan students. Student numbers have been shrinking in the rest of the schools as well.
A lower birth rate, emigration of Tibetans to the West, and much lower numbers of new arrivals from Tibet over the years are said to be the reasons for shrinking number of Tibetan children in India and Nepal, Secretary of Department of Education Karma Singey told Tibet Sun.
“We are now working on closing some of the schools, as the number has been significantly reduced in Tibetan schools in India,” Singey said.
As the the number of Tibetan children are now increasing in countries like the US, Canada, Australia, and European countries, Singey said that his department is taking up offers to help support the Tibetan culture and language schools organised by Tibetan associations in those countries.
“We have been providing workshops on Tibetan language, and also cultural teachers, who teach at the weekend schools in various countries, to help them get better skills. Right now we are working on a meeting of all the community leaders and teachers to discuss how to raise the standard of learning at these weekend schools. The meeting will be held in New York City in August.”
Other ways to have Tibetan language taught to Tibetan children, Singey said, would be to request classes of the school administrations that have a large number of Tibetan students. He said that Tibetans in Sydney have requested a school there to provide Tibetan language classes in the school. “It will be good if this happens,” Singey said.
He added that similar requests could be made by Tibetans living in Toronto. “There are many Tibetan students going to Queen Victoria Public School in Parkdale. A similar request for teaching Tibetan language could be made in this school.”
In TCV and CST schools, a culture of bullying and corporal punishment existed. Children lived under constant fear of being whipped with leather belts, or hit with 30cm ruler on the bare knuckles, clothes and edibles stolen by either elder brothers and sisters or by home foster mothers,and so on.
Talk with TCV kids, and you will surprised how cruel and unforgiving and rough the Tibetan schools have been in the 1990s and 2000s.
This culture of bullying and general atmosphere of savage roughness has many to send their children a thousand miles from any Tibetan schools in exile.
In TCV Suja, in 2010, a child died after 6 of the school prefects beat him up till the poor soul died! You can now imagine what really lies beneath the cosy, compassionate facade Tibetan schools given – behind the gate, a barbaric human jungle dynamics prevail in those cloistered schools.
No wonder parents want their children in private, English-medium schools, which tend to produce more confident, articulate, and confident children.
Information provided by Tibet Sun gives only the current data of Tibetan children studying in CST, India. The reasons are many for dwindling number of Tibetan children in schools which are directly under the CTA. I agree as well as disagree with reasons of low growth rate in Tibetan society since detailed studies are not done to ascertain the cause of this issue.
There may be other reasons why Tibetan parents are not sending their children to CST, and this could be another important reason of low enrollment of Tibetan students in school. There has to be fair, unbiased and honest field studies by the independent body to find out the underlying reasons.
It is a very serious matter which will affect the course of our struggle in future. Reasons shared in Tibet Sun are only symptoms of greater social ills, and therefore solution has to be found out within the exiled community.
99% of the Tibetans in India has dreams of flying to Canada. But Canada started refusing asylum to Tibetans born in India or Nepal as Canadian govt can access ADHAAR Card number online nowadays. Only Tibetans born in Tibet and grew up in India are getting asylum there.
There’s almost a 1,000 Tibetans living illegally in Toronto. Now what to do? Only France is giving asylum to Tibetans as of 2019. But there is so much anxiety in India, and most of my friends in India are getting restless and depressed because so many of their friends are in the west. They feel they are ‘ leftovers’.
There is so much anxiety in the air. Not only Sarjor Tibetans, but also Shichak Tibetans are getting insecure in India. It is a sad state of affairs.
If you are young and want to go abroad, choose France asap. According to a secret source, I heard Western countries decreed that no more than “10,000” Tibetans will be given asylum in any country. France has about 8,000 Tibetan refugees at the moment. ( I heard Chinese govt is sending Tibetans abroad to make them seek asylum secretly… does anyone have any lead on this mystery?)
So, ‘ PHUR’ or fly if you want to fulfill your dreams.
In addition, one of the major reason for lower number of Tibetan kids in the CSTs is, Tibetan parents sending kids to private schools in India and Nepal.
“A lower birth rate, emigration of Tibetans to the West, and much lower numbers of new arrivals from Tibet over the years are said to be the reasons for shrinking number of Tibetan children in India and Nepal, Secretary of Department of Education Karma Singey told Tibet Sun.”
My take on the reasons for the dwindling Tibetan numbers the author cites are as follows –
low birth rate – women prefer potential husband from the West, and therefore won’t form relatioship with Tibetan men from India or Nepal.
emigration of Tibetans – obvious reasons. No jobs in India.
low number of new arrivals – toxic relationship of ” US versus Them” environment between Tibetans from Tibet and Tibetans from Shichag, almost verging on hate. Plus border control at Nepal.
Tibetan diaspora is doomed to fail like Afghanistan which is a melting pot of tribal hate amongst various ethinic groups.
Nice updated article on present condition of Tibetan schools in India. Quite surprised to learn the number of students in some big CST schools.