Education in Tibet

Education in Tibet is the public responsibility of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Education of ethnic Tibetans is partly subsidized by the government. Primary and secondary education is compulsory, while preferential policies aimed at Tibetans seek to enroll more students in vocational or higher education.

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Lhasa (1922)
English school in Gyantse, classroom photo between 1923 to 1926

Some form of institutionalized education was in place in Tibet since 860 CE, when the first monasteries were established. However, only 13% of the population (less for girls) lived there, and many still were manual laborers educated only enough to chant their prayer books. Five public schools existed outside of the monasteries: Tse Laptra trained boys for ecclesiastical functions in the government, Tsikhang to prepare aristocrats with the proper etiquette for government service. Some villages have small private schools. Some choose to educate their children with private tutors at home. In the 20th century, the government in Tibet allowed foreign groups, mainly English, to establish secular schools in Lhasa. However, they were opposed by the clergy and the aristocracy, who feared they would “undermine Tibet’s cultural and religious traditions.”[1] The parents who could afford to send their children to England for education were reluctant because of the distance.[citation needed] The Seventeen Point Agreement signed at that time pledged Chinese help to develop education in Tibet. Primary education has been expanded in recent decades.[citation needed]

Frank Ludlow with Tibetan pupils between 1923 to 1926

According to state-owned newspaper China Daily in 2015, the literacy rate in Tibet for the 15-60 age group was 99.48%.[2][better source needed]

According to the government-run China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture, since the China Western Development program in 1999, 200 primary schools have been built, and enrollment of children in public schools in 2010 has reached 98.8%.[3][better source needed]

In 2017 there were 2,200 schools across Tibet providing different levels of education to roughly 663,000 students.[citation needed] By 2018, the gross student enrollment rate in Tibet was 99.5% in primary school, 99.51% in middle school, 82.25% in senior high school and 39.18% in colleges and universities.[citation needed]

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