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III. Prospects for Tibetan Education

According to incomplete statistics, by the end of 1993, the Central Government had invested a total of 1.1 million yuan in Tibetan educational undertakings, sent 6,640 inland teachers to Tibet, and established 67 Tibetan classes or schools in 25 inland provinces and municipalities directly under the Central Government, which have natured more than 10,000 middle-school and technical secondary school graduates.

The irrefutable facts prove that Tibet’s remarkable educational achievements, gained under the hardships of natural and economic conditions, were inseparable from the solicitude of the Central Government and the support of the entire country.

The Third National Conference on Tibet Work held by the Central Government in 1994 defined the strategic position of Tibetan education and guideline of educational reform and development. It called for further development of Tibetan education with a view to enhancing the educational level of the Tibetan race and training personnel so as to ensure economic development so as to ensure economic development and social progress and stability, and constantly increase living standards. While implementing the guidelines set forth at the national conference, the people’s government earnestly studied the status quo and formulated the Development Program on 1996-2000 Educational Development in Tibet. Major task set in the program are as follows:

.Drawing an additional 100,000 students into the primary and middle schools;

.Building 1,000 primary and middle schools;

.Establishing 100 key primary schools, middle schools and important subjects in colleges and universities;

.Eradicating illiteracy in 100,000 adults;

.Building 10 vocational secondary schools;

.Setting up 10 model counties which combine agriculture and science with education;

.Training 1,000 headmasters for primary and middle schools;

.Training 1,000 young classrooms for middle-aged teachers;

.Selecting 100 teaching models among young and middle-aged teachers;

.Building 1,000 apartments for teachers;

.Building 1,000 classrooms for moral education; and

.Setting up 100 centers for moral education.

By 2000, Tibet can realize a three year compulsory education in the pastoral areas, a six-year compulsory education in agricultural areas, and a nine-year compulsory education in major cities and towns. There will be a middle school in every township, and more than 80 percent of school-age children will be in classrooms. By then, the number of middle school students is expected to hit 50,000; and those primary and middle school graduates not continuing their study can receive technical training in agriculture and husbandry. The Tibet Autonomous Regional Vocational Education Center and professional educational centers at all levels will be in charge of education for record for formal study, job training, training of teachers, and research and consulting on teaching. Tibet will put equal importance on education for academic record with vocational qualification. Tibetan schools and classes located in China’s hinterland will make more efforts on two tasks: sending eligible students to higher-level institutions, and training a large number of talented persons for Tibet.

By 2000, there will be 5,600 students in Tibetan colleges and universities. The readjustment of educational structure will make it possible for education to be more adaptable to Tibet’s economic construction. Scientific research of schools of higher learning will help boast Tibet’s research ability through associations with production units. The time for applying the fruits of scientific search to production will be shortened and the benefits increased. The colleges and universities, where talents are concentrated and which are knowledge-intensive, will have a bigger role to play.

Adult education will focus on on-job training for workers, and skill training for farmers and herdsmen. By then, cultural and technological study centers will be established in primary and middle schools in 50 counties and 300 townships; the illiteracy rate among young and middle-aged people will drop to 45 percent; and in cities and towns, and economically developed areas, the number will be zero.

By the end of this century, the Tibet Autonomous Region will nurture another 8,000 teachers, taking the total number to 29,000. Every prefecture and city will have a TV educational programs, and each county will have a relay station for such program. In addition, 100 major schools will be equipped with audio-visual facilities.

Judging from present situation, the plan is suitable for Tibet’s economic and educational development and can be realized with effort. In 1995, Tibet built 501 primary schools and 12 middle schools, rebuilt and expanded 72 primary schools, and installed another 6,000 sets of desks and chairs. As a result, primary and middle school students registered an increase of 25,339 and 4,403 respectively, and 21,860 people threw off the stigma of illiteracy, reducing the illiteracy rate among the young by 2 percentage points. The quality of Tibetan school education in inland areas improved steadily. In the national university entrance examinations, about half of the 266 Tibetan examinees passed the enrollment level for Beijing. Gratifying achievements were seen in teaching materials compilation, installation of teaching equipment and devices, and research on teaching and learning course.

At this rate, it is optimistic to realize the set goals by the end of this century. By then, Tibet will reduce the gap in education with other parts of Chinas. And Tibetan education will further promote the construction of Tibetan modernization.

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