The Chinese government has closed numerous Tibetan schools in Tibet while putting effort into building so-called Tibetan classes or schools inside China under the command of political responsibility.
On the 26th of October 2023, the Education Department of Tibet Autonomous Region and Meishan Commission Society in Sichuan province signed a joint project of establishing a new Tibetan school in Meishan, Tianfu New Area. After circulating the news of this initiative on social media, commentators have asked questions like ‘Why build a Tibetan school in the Chinese area?’ and ‘Is there no place to build Tibetan schools in Shigatse or Tibet Autonomous region.’
According to Chinese State Media, Tibetan schools could be a center for exams of Tibetan Autonomous Regions and teacher training. Initially, 3,000 students will enroll for middle and high school classes. It is estimated that the construction of the school will be finished in June 2025.
Over the past few years, the Chinese government has closed schools in villages, especially Tibetan private schools, and placed approximately one million children ages between 4 and 18 in Chinese state-run boarding schools. For instance, in 2021, seven private schools were closed in the Golok area, such as Sangduk Taktse school. In November of that year, the Giden Buddhist School of Dakgo Monastery was also closed.
Similarly, since 2000, to grant education opportunities, the Chinese government has chosen three top-scoring students in the annual exam from each class of middle schools in Tibet. Then, one or two excellent students were selected through oral and written tests for further studies in Chinese schools in cities like Shenzhen. Under this kind of project, thousands of Chinese teachers have come to Tibet for work. Due to job-seeking competitions, Tibetan youths, after schooling, cannot get proper jobs and have to take an interest in business and other skills.
In 1996, the Chinese government attached a document related to the Tibetan class or school in China across 16 provinces and cities. The document’s preface said this project is a political responsibility and must be accomplished with hard work, severe rules, and the utmost support.
In 2021, in a work report after 36 years of initiating the Tibetan class or school in China, it is mentioned that around 1984, Tibetans were “backward in education.” For that reason, the Tibetan class or school was initiated. Until then, the total number of Tibetan children and children of other nationalities of parents working in Tibet enrolled is 1,430,000. Out of them, more than 560,000 students were sent back to Tibet.