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Tibet is China's first place to enjoy free compulsory education
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09:20, March 13, 2009

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During the past 50 years, the central government has invested a huge amount of funds in education in Tibet, making Tibet the first place in China to enjoy free compulsory education in both urban and rural areas, says in the white paper titled "Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet" published by the Information Office of the State Council, or China's cabinet on March 2,2009.

The white paper reveals that in old Tibet there was not a single school in the modern sense. The enrollment rate for school-age children was less than two percent, while the illiteracy rate was as high as 95 percent.

Since 1985, the state has set up boarding primary and high schools in farming and pastoral areas, and covered all tuition as well as food and lodging expenses for students at the stage of compulsory education from Tibet's farming and pastoral families.

The white paper shows that in 2008, all 73 counties (cities and districts) in Tibet realized six-year compulsory education and basically wiped out illiteracy. In 70 counties, nine-year compulsory education is being practiced, and the illiteracy rate has fallen to 2.4 percent overall. The enrollment rate for primary school-age children has reached 98.5 percent, that for junior high school 92.2 percent, and that for senior high school 51.2 percent.There are 884 primary schools, 117 high schools and 1,237 teaching venues now in Tibet. The average educational level of people in Tibet reached 6.3 years in 2008. There are six institutions of higher learning, with about 30,000 students and an enrollment rate of 19.7 percent, and 10 secondary vocational schools, with the number of students totaling 21,000.

The white paper points out over the past 20 years, in 20 hinterland provinces and municipalities of China, 28 junior and senior high schools have classes specially for Tibetan students, 53 key senior high schools and over 90 institutions of higher learning have accumulatively enrolled 36,727 junior high school students, 30,370senior high school students (including secondary vocational school students), and 12,000 university and college students. With these efforts, more than 18,000 professionals have been trained for the development of Tibet. At present, the number of Tibetan students in these schools has reached 18,640. Modern science and technology in Tibet has developed rapidly, and the number of related personnel keeps increasing. There were 46,508 professionals of various kinds in 2007; among them 31,487 are of ethnic minorities, with Tibetans as the majority. Large numbers of highly educated Tibetans, including some with PhD and MA, as well as scientists and engineers, have become a major force in promoting Tibet's development.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has made huge efforts to promote the learning, use and development of the Tibetan language. In Tibet, importance is given to both the Tibetan and Han Chinese languages, with priority given to Tibetan. At present, both languages are used in teaching in all schools of the farming and pastoral areas, as well as some urban areas, with the major courses being taught in Tibetan. Teaching is also conducted in the two languages in high schools.

Moreover, the Tibetan language courses have been available at Tibetan high schools in the hinterland areas of China. In the matriculation examinations for institutions of higher learning and secondary vocational schools, Tibetan is a subject of examination, and the score is included in the total score.

The white paper says since the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, both Tibetan and Han Chinese have been used for resolutions and regulations adopted by the people's congresses at all levels, and official documents and public announcements of people's governments at all levels as well as their subordinate departments. During judicial proceedings, Tibetan is used in hearing any case involving Tibetan people, and the written Tibetan language is used for legal papers. Both Tibetan and Han Chinese are used for official seals, credentials and signs of all entities; logos of government departments, factories and mines, schools, bus and train stations, airports, shops, hotels, restaurants, theaters, scenic spots, sports venues and libraries; and street and traffic signs.

The white paper also says since its establishment in 1959, Tibetan People's Radio (TPR), with focus on Tibetan-language broadcasting, has developed 42 programs in Tibetan and the Khampa dialect, including 21 hours and 15 minutes of news broadcasting in Tibetan and 17 hours and 50minutes of broadcasting in the Khampa dialect every day. The Tibet Television Station formally opened a Tibetan satellite TV channel, which has been broadcasting 24 hours a day since October 1, 2007. At present, there are 14 Tibetan-language periodicals and 10 Tibetan-language newspapers in Tibet. Computer information processing of the Tibetan script was realized in 1984, and a Tibetan-script operating system compatible with Chinese and English versions was developed. In 1997, an international-standard Tibetan character code was approved, making the Tibetan script the first ethnic-minority script in China with an international standard.

By People's Daily Online



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