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Boarding schools ensure fairer education in Tibet

Source:Xinhua 2023-04-03


Students pose for a group photo after a national flag raising ceremony marking the 15th Serfs' Emancipation Day at a square in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, March 28, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhang Rufeng)

BEIJING, March 29 (Xinhua) -- The boarding school system in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has ensured that both rural and urban students can equally receive quality education and the will of the parents and students is fully respected when choosing to live in the schools or not, China Daily reported Wednesday, citing opinions of experts on education.

The system has been proven suitable for Tibet, with its vast land and sparse population. It is welcomed by both the students and parents, especially those in pastoral areas, said Sherab Nyima, a professor with Minzu University of China, at an international symposium on education modernization and protection of the rights to education in Tibet.

"Students in pastoral areas had previously experienced difficulties in going to schools. To solve the problems, boarding schools have been set up. Those schools have enabled children from rural and pastoral areas to equally receive education," Sherab Nyima was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Many Tibetan experts and scholars who are from remote areas in Tibet attended boarding schools and then pursued higher education. Setting up boarding schools in areas with harsh natural environments and sparse population has been a common practice in China to protect children's right to education. It has never been a practice targeting Tibet, he noted.

The recent claims that Tibetan students are taken away from their families and forced to live in the schools are groundless and have a clear political agenda, Xiao Jie, deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary Studies at the China Tibetology Research Center, was quoted as saying.

"It is necessary to make clear that although many schools in Tibet provide accommodation, it is up to the students and their parents to choose if they want to live in the schools or not," said Xiao, who just returned from Tibet after carrying out research on boarding schools in the region.

Some students' homes are about 40 kilometers and even 100 km from the school, so it is only reasonable for them to live at school. Also, it is not practical to set up schools in villages that may only have five households, according to Xiao.

"Also, the schools offer lessons on Tibetan language and culture, so it's nonsense to say that the schools are there to erase Tibetan culture. In contrast, the students may learn more about Tibetan culture at the schools," Xiao was quoted as saying. 

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