Education Policy in Exile
Education has always been important but never more so in man’s history than today. In a science-based world, education and research are crucial to the entire developmental process of a country, its welfare, progress and security. In a rapidly changing world of today, one thing is certain: yesterday’s educational system will not meet today’s, and even less so, the need of tomorrow. This emphasizes all the more the need for an educational policy, which contains built-in flexibility so that it can adjust to changing circumstances. In the Tibetan context, the education policy should embody the vision of future growth and development of the community and the role that education ought to play in national development. While education has to prepare Tibetan boys and girls to cope with the realities of present-day life in the country of their residence and prepare them for a vocation in life, the essential task of education is to preserve the national and cultural identity owing to being uprooted from our mother-land.
The formulation of a National Education Policy was envisaged in the Charter of the Tibetan People in Exile and duly enshrined in Article 17(2) under the Directive Principles of the Tibetan Administration. Following a directive from the Kashag (Tibetan exile cabinet), to formulate an education policy, a six-member National Education Policy Drafting Committee was appointed by the Education Minister.
We began our task four years ago, on January 25, 1997. From the very beginning we have been conscious of the immensity and inherent difficulties of the task assigned to us considering the fact that such an exercise has never been undertaken earlier in the exile community. No task in our view could be more challenging, more vital and relevant in our struggle for survival as a nation in exile. As we have had no experience, whatsoever, to recall on the kind of modalities required to be followed to formulate national policy on education, the only option left was to adopt a process similar to the one followed during the development of the Indian National Policy on Education of 1986. From the very beginning, it was expected that this project will take a considerable amount of time to complete, in view of the sheer logistics involved as it was vital to ensure the active participation of the entire Tibetan refugee community living in India, Nepal and Bhutan at every stage of its development.
It was decided early on in our deliberations on the process guidelines, that a study of the current situation must be made before any policy recommendations are prescribed. So a series of surveys were conducted among Tibetan schools and institutions in exile to compile the Current Status Report (CSR) of 1998. One of the first tasks the committee undertook was to draft three sets of questionnaires; for students, teachers and school administrators on those key areas where the members felt there might be scope for planning and change. These questionnaires were sent to 15 select secondary schools and we received responses from 19 school administrators, 289 teachers and 1290 students. The questionnaires were supported by a series of fact-finding pro forma that was circulated-this time to all the schools. The responses to these pro forma not only provided current statistics on various aspects of Tibetan education scenario but also allowed us to study trends over a period of ten years in key areas like school enrollment; drop outs etc. Based on the findings of the CSR, critical problem areas were identified and the whole Tibetan community in exile was involved to elicit suggestions on ways and means to tackle the problem areas identified. For this, Regional Convenors/Task Forces, comprising of mainly school principals, rectors and settlement/welfare officers, representing different regions in India, Nepal and Bhutan were appointed. A workshop was organized to introduce them on the critical problem areas in exile education and on the modalities to be followed for eliciting suggestions at the local level. Deliberations at the local level were conducted at several forums, namely with students, teachers, school administrators/staff, parents, NGOs and institutions. The Reports of the Regional Convenors/ Task Forces with detailed feedback obtained from the community were compiled and have been of immense help to us in recommending policy prescriptions. So, much of our work is directly based on the findings of the CSR, the problem areas identified and the suggestions received from the community in exile.
Throughout our discussions and meetings, we were aware of the two dimensions involved: planning for our transitional stage in exile and planning for a future Tibet. Owing to reasons that are obvious, we were unable to conduct research or involve the people in Tibet in any way as was done within the exile community. Therefore, we feel it would be apt that our recommendations when approved will be called the Tibetan Education Policy in Exile. However, we have been conscious of the implications of this document when we return to Tibet, and based on available information on the education policy currently being implemented in Tibet, we have made specific recommendation wherever it was felt relevant and necessary.
We had the benefit of valuable consultations with eminent Indian educationists and planners. We are particularly grateful to Professor Satya Bhushan, former Vice-Chancellor, Jammu University and former Director of National Institute of Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA), New Delhi and had served as Education Advisor to the Government of Mauritius; and Mr. Baldev Mahajan, former Director of NIEPA, New Delhi and Joint Secretary to the Government of India. Both of them have been fully and whole-heartedly associated with the project right from the very beginning and have been a vital source of guidance and expertise to the committee. Dr. Jandhyala B.G.Tilak, Senior Fellow and Head, Education Finance Unit, NIEPA, New Delhi provided us invaluable advice on the process guidelines to be followed for the formulation of the national education policy. We are thankful to him for his assistance.
We owe special thanks to Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, Director, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath and Advisor to the National Education Policy Committee for offering valuable insight and guidance on many key issues.
We had the honor and privilege of having the Minister for Education preside over all the deliberations of the committee. Her guidance and encouragement were of great value and benefit to us. We are also greatly indebted to Mr. Ngodup Tsering, former Education Secretary and ex-Chairman of the National Education Policy Committee for his leadership and inspiration especially in the early stages when it was most needed.
We thank the members of the Regional Convenors/Task Forces and the heads of schools and institutions of higher education for their cooperation and devoted efforts to garner the participation of all concerned in the community in making this effort a success.
TIBETAN EDUCATION POLICY IN EXILE:
Throughout our discussions and meetings regarding National Education policy, we were aware of the two dimensions involved: planning for our transitional stage in exile and planning for a future free Tibet. At the same time, it was decided early on in our deliberations on the process guidelines that, a study of current situations must be researched before any policy recommendations are prescribed. So, a series of surveys were conducted among Tibetan schools and institutions in exile to compile the Current Status Report (CSR) of 1998. Based on the findings of the CSR, critical problem areas were identified and the whole Tibetan community in exile was involved in a debate with a view to eliciting suggestions on ways and means to tackle the problem areas identified. Thus, much of our work is directly based on the findings of the CSR, the problem areas identified and the suggestions received from the community in exile. We were not able to conduct similar research or involve the people in Tibet in any way. As such, just as we have the Charter of the Tibetan People in Exile, it would be apt to title our work as Tibetan Education Policy in Exile.
However, we have been conscious of the implications of this document for a future free Tibet, and based on available information on education policy and practices in Tibet, we have made specific recommendations for a future free Tibet wherever it was felt relevant and necessary.
CHAPTER 2: THE STRUCTURE OF EDUCATION AND SCHOOL SYSTEM
2.1 We have to plan within the constraints of living in exile. At this juncture it will not be possible for us to make whole scale changes in the structure of education and we will have to continue to follow the system of education prevalent in the host country.
2.2 Within the framework of the host country’s education system, we can plan and introduce changes to meet our educational goals. While at the secondary stage, the content is prescribed and assessment regulated by the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi, there is flexibility up to class VIII and therefore scope for planning and change.
2.3 With the introduction of Tibetan as the medium of instruction in our schools up to class V, a beginning has already been made to establish a system of education suitable for Tibetan children. The Current Status Report of 1998, strongly suggests that we are on the right track. There is the need to further consolidate and strengthen this system of education that will provide us invaluable experience and knowledge to establish a larger national system in a future free Tibet.
CHAPTER 3: THE REORGANIZATION OF EDUCATION AT DIFFERENT STAGES
EARLY CHILDHOOD CARE & EDUCATION
3.1 The two years of Pre-Primary education was identified from the Current Status Report (1998) as a major problem area. In many cases, there was a tendency to treat this stage as a downside extension of primary education. As a result, in many schools there is an attempt to start reading, writing and arithmetic at this stage. No formal education should be started here. The aim should be the physical, emotional and social development of the child. Cognitive development should be promoted through the play way method, observations and questions and answers. The emphasis should be on the play-way method, development of oral expression, explorations and discovery of the natural and social environment. Unless appropriate objectives are kept in view and the right kind of methods employed to achieve those objectives, this stage could cause undue stress and harm to the tender children. Early childhood care and education will be appropriately reoriented and reorganized.
3.2 An important component of the reorganization process must be the suitable education of teachers at this stage. Efforts will be made to recruit teachers with the correct aptitude and skills at this vital stage of the children’s education.
3.3 It will be the aim to achieve universalisation of primary education.
3.4 A concerted effort will be made to ensure that there is a marked improvement in the quality of education provided at this vital stage.
3.5 A child-centred and activity-based process of learning will be adopted at this stage. Both pre-service and in-service training of teachers for this stage will emphasize this aspect. Efforts will be made to ensure that the teaching- learning process is fun and enjoyable.
3.6 The thrust at this stage will be to improve the standard of education, especially in the two crucial subjects of Tibetan language and Mathematics and to improve the retention rate. Suitable strategies will be developed and implemented to increase the retention rate at this stage.
3.7 In exile, while following the Indian system of the host country, wherever possible efforts will be made to teach Tibetan history and culture at the middle school level. In a future free Tibet, this is the appropriate stage to provide the children with a sense of history and national perspective by formulating a suitable curricula.
3.8 It is at this stage that students are exposed to the differentiated roles of science, commerce and the humanities. Efforts will be made to ensure that an educational counsellor is available to every secondary and senior secondary school who can assist students in making educational and vocational choices in keeping with their aptitude and ability.
VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING
3.9 A systematic and well-planned programme of vocational education is essential both in our situation in exile and also for a future free Tibet. Vocational education programmes are essential to enhance an individual’s employability, to reduce the mis-match between demand and supply of skilled manpower and to provide an alternative for those pursuing higher education without particular interest or purpose.
3.10 Vocational Education will be a separate stream. These courses will ordinarily be provided after the secondary stage, but keeping the scheme flexible, they may also be made available after class VIII.
3.11 Apart from contemporary modern vocational education courses, opportunities will be provided for and students encouraged to pursue traditional Tibetan crafts like metal craft, woodcarving, thanka painting, etc.
3.12 The CTA will take appropriate steps to help graduates of vocational courses become employed or self-employed.
HIGHER EDUCATION & NATIONAL HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
3.13 Career Counselors will be made available to the students who will advise them on various career options, consider the personality of individual students and help to channel them into careers in line with their interests and strengths.
3.14 Scholarships for higher studies will be suitably planned and awarded, taking into consideration the human resource needs of the community in exile and for the nation at large.
3.15 There should be suitable opportunities available for the study of Tibetan language beyond the secondary school stage. The creation of a college for undergraduate studies in Tibetan language will be seriously studied and other strategies like offering corresponding courses in the study of Tibetan language will be developed and implemented.
3.16 Efforts will be made to establish hostel facilities, especially for girls, in other regions where there are a large number of Tibetan students,where currently no hostel exists.
ADULT EDUCATION AND LITERACY
3.17 A new thinking needs to be developed in the field of adult education in our community. We need to draw inspiration from countries like Sweden, where more than 50 per cent of the adult population takes part in some form of organized learning in the course of a year.
3.18 Basic education and literacy programmes tend to be more appealing to adults if these programmes are linked to the acquisition of useful skills related to some form of economic activity.
3.19 Besides basic literacy, adult education will also aim at dealing with environmental and health issues, population education and education for understanding different values and cultures.
3.20 India has developed a vast programme of adult education. Wherever possible, we should actively take part in such programmes. At the same time, adult education programmes of our own will be developed.
3.21 The education of handicapped children will be a priority. In tune with the philosophy of the Dharma, our out-look towards the handicapped children will be one of compassion and efforts will be made to suitably educate them to live as full and meaningful a life as possible.
EDUCATION FOR EQUALITY
3.22 Basic education will aim to promote equality among our people. In a future free Tibet, efforts will be made and strategies devised to ensure that basic education reaches everyone – the backward and remote areas too.
3.23 Surveys conducted for the Current Status Report (1998), clearly showed that the education of the girls in exile is in no way behind the boys. But, in a future free Tibet, the situation may be different and realizing the crucial importance of the education of women in society, special efforts will be made to ensure that basic education reaches to all.
CHAPTER 4: THE CONTENT AND PROCESS OF EDUCATION
STUDY OF LANGUAGES AND MEDIUM OF INSTRUCTION
4.1 The study of Tibetan language will be accorded top priority and it will be the medium of instruction up to the primary stage. The medium of instruction from class VI upwards will continue to be in English.
4.2 All efforts will be made to improve the proficiency in the language, both written and spoken, and universal literacy in Tibetan language in the community.
4.3 The standard of English in our schools continues to be poor. Suitable strategies will be evolved and implemented to improve the standard of English.
4.4 Hindi or the national language of the host country while in exile will be studied as a third language for functional literacy up to class VIII.
TEXT BOOKS AND TEACHING-LEARNING MATERIALS
4.5 Measures will be taken to ensure that quality textbooks are available for the study of Tibetan language in our schools. Periodical review of Tibetan language textbooks will be undertaken to make necessary changes wherever necessary.
4.6 Up to class V, the system of education envisions the use of Tibetan as the medium of instruction. Suitable textbooks of good quality will be produced for these classes to ensure that this scheme is a success.
4.7 Apart from textbooks, additional reading materials in Tibetan will be made available to inculcate the habit of reading. Measures will be taken to ensure that these reading materials are fun, colorful, low-priced and easily accessible to all.
4.8 In order to improve the quality of teaching, efforts will be made to procure modern Tibetan audio-visual teaching aids in our classrooms.
4.9 Modern educational technologies will be employed to create interest and promote better understanding of challenging subjects and concepts, sharpen awareness of art and culture, inculcate abiding values, etc.
4.10 As part of the development of the educational process, a beginning will be made to generate relevant and culturally compatible Tibetan educational programmes.
TEACHING OF MATHEMATICS, SCIENCE AND SOCIAL STUDIES
4.11 Mathematics continues to be a challenging subject for our students and the teaching of Mathematics in our schools needs to be revolutionized. One important aim of teaching Mathematics at the primary stage will be to inculcate the skill of quantification of experiences around learners. The teaching of Mathematics should be viewed as a means to train a child to think, reason and analyse. Detailed strategies will be evolved to make the study of Mathematics enjoyable and stress free. Available modern educational technologies will be used to promote easy learning and efforts will be made to generate appropriate programmes in Tibetan for the lower classes. At the secondary stage, efforts will be made to relate mathematics close to life so that students learn to apply mathematical skills and competencies in their work situations.
4.12 The teaching of science will aim at the development of a spirit of inquiry, objectivity, creativity and the courage to question in the child. Towards this end, the methods of teaching science should be suitably re-oriented. Experimentation, observation and inquiry should be the heart of science education. Rote learning should have no place in science education.
4.13 The development and improvement of science laboratories, and the use of suitable computer programmes for the study of science will be a priority.
4.14 The content of education will ensure that knowledge about our land and its rich history is passed on to our children.
4.15 At the same time, the teaching of social sciences in our schools will be aimed at developing an understanding of other nations, their history, traditions and spiritual values so that we learn to live in harmony with all people of the world.
4.16 An awareness of the environment is one of the greatest needs of this world. The fragile ecology coupled with the natural beauty of Tibet make it doubly important for our society to be conscious of our environment. The system of education will integrate environment education in the entire educational process.
4.17 There is a growing concern over the erosion of moral and social values among our youth. With changes in family norms and the increase in the pace of life, schools have assumed an important role in the transmission of traditional moral and social values to our youth. Recognizing this role, curricula and school activities will be planned in detail to provide opportunities to foster universal and traditional values.
4.18 Tibetan Cultural Instructors will be available to the students to imbibe in them sound spiritual values from an early age and to help them to become good human beings. While embracing western advances in science and technology, it is important that our children develop a firm conviction in our traditional culture and values. Education in our schools will actively help our parents and community in this endeavor.
4.19 The appropriate synthesis of science and technology with spirituality will be a desired goal in our society. The realization that the pursuit of exclusive materialism invariably leads to desire, unhappiness and depression, and that there are limits to material comfort need to be imbibed in our children from an early age. In fact, the emphasis on ethics and values will be placed right from pre-school and while modern education seeks to develop the head, our school systems will also seek to develope their hearts.
EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRACY
4.20 The charter for Tibetans in exile clearly highlights democracy as the chosen form of government both for our transitional stage in exile as also for a future free Tibet. Realizing the importance of enlightened citizenry for democracy to really work and be a success, no efforts will be spared to ensure that education will instill in our children civic sense, a sense of citizenship and democratic ideals.
4.21 Various activities in school will be planned aimed at exposing the children to the practice of democracy at an early age.
EDUCATION VERSUS EXCLUSION
4.22 It is important to be aware that while education can be a means of promoting equality, it can also be a contributory factor of social marginalization and exclusion. The diversity and individuality of the learner should be given due regard and efforts made to ensure that avenues of learning outside of the standardized teaching is available.
4.23 Realizing that expulsion from schools for one reason or the other may lead to resentment, violence and marginalization in society, expulsion from the schools on disciplinary grounds will be minimized.
4.24 Effective strategies will be developed to ensure that students are not expelled from the schools on grounds of academic failure. They will be offered suitable opportunities either in vocational studies, distant learning or under the open school system. The aim throughout will be to minimize exclusion from the educational system and therefore from society.
4.25 The cooperation of parents and the community will be sought to ensure hundred percent enrollment of children either in schools or in monastic institutions. With the limited number of children in exile this should be possible and worth striving for. Even in a future free Tibet, in line with international thought, basic education will be considered a passport to good life and no effort should be spared to maximize enrolment. At the same time, special attention will be focused on the issue of drop-out. Initial survey and study of the underlying causes of drop-outs from schools have already been undertaken. More detailed studies will be done. Parents and the community will be involved to develop effective strategies to reduce the dropouts from our schools.
SPORTS AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
4.26 Sports and physical education will be given due importance in schools. There will be a concerted effort to ensure the availability of trained and qualified physical education teachers, adequate sports infrastructure and equipment in all schools.
4.27 Often much of the glamour and focus of competitive school sports is focused on the seniors and the school teams. In residential schools, adequate games and sports facilities will be provided for all children to engage in some form of play. Supervised and competitive sporting activities will be arranged for all age levels.
4.28 The CTA will set up a Youth and Sports Council to nurture and encourage talent among the youth in various disciplines of sports and games and to develop them to thier fullest potentials.
4.29 Work experience will form an important component of education. The dignity of labor will be instilled in our children from a young age. Education should not diminish the capacity for hard work.
4.30 Various programmes of work experience already in practice in our schools will be strengthened and new programmes developed. Students will be taught to be responsible for the cleanliness of their schools. Tree plantations and gardening will be encouraged. Coupled with these programmes, the maintenance and upkeep of school infrastructure will be given its due importance.
TEACHING SLOW LEARNERS AND GIFTED CHILDREN
4.31 One of the greatest concerns for us is the under-achievement of children at all levels, which results in repeating classes or even dropping out. No effort should be spared to combat under-achievement. A detailed study with a view to combating under-achievement will be carried out and suitable programmes will be developed for our schools.
4.32 At the same time, we need to do our best for the talented students in schools, nurture them and develop them to the fullest possible. Accelerated learning methods will be made available to them; so that they have an opportunity to learn at speeds they are capable of.
PRESERVATION OF NATIONAL IDENTITY AND CULTURE
4.33 The preservation, renewal and transmission of our rich cultural heritage are fundamental aspirations of all Tibetans and education will be used as a powerful tool to achieve these ends. A number of strategies will be planned to increase culturally related activities in our schools.
4.34 The appropriate training and placement of Cultural Instructors and Tibetan Dance and Music Teachers in all schools will be a priority. The Administration will actively help all schools to enroll the above personnel as part of their teaching staff.
4.35 Mediocrity will not be an accepted norm in our society. A striving for excellence in all fields should permeate all sections of our society for the nation to be excellent. A sense of the need to strive for excellence will be instilled in our children from an early age and our education system will devise suitable mechanisms to identify the talented and gifted children and also develop currricular programmes that nurture their diverse creative abilities by paying them special attention.
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY
4.36 Information and communication technologies are now an integral part of everyday life. Digital communication has linked distant communities and members of the same community scattered all over the world. There is hardly any area of human activity which has not been touched by the IT revolution. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is of special relevance to the Tibetan community in exile, uprooted from the homeland and resettled in far-off lands. Children should be encouraged to use computers in school to make learning easier, more fun and to gain access to vast knowledge and information available on the internet. The school curriculum will be revised to incorporate ICT so that students develop required understanding, knowledge and a range of skills in its application. The use of computers in schools should enrich the contents of education as well as make the process of learning more interesting.
4.37 In the light of the foregoing considerations, computer education will be given its due importance in our schools. Within the next few years, efforts will be made to see that all Tibetan schools have computers and computer education at least at the secondary stage. Gradually, the scheme of computer education will be strengthened and made available at an earlier stage.
ACADEMIC ASSESMENT AND EVALUATION
4.38 There is near unanimity that the current academic assessment system can be improved upon. A system of comprehensive and continuous assessment will be developed and introduced in schools that incorporates both scholastic and non -scholastic aspects of education
4.39 The practice of rote learning without real understanding of subject matter still persists in our schools. The format of question papers will be suitably amended to minimize the practice of rote learning and the element of chance and subjectivity.
4.40 The assessment system should be a valid and reliable indicator of a student’s progress and a powerful tool for improving the teaching-learning process.
4.41 In India, the results of the All India CBSE Examinations are considered a fairly reliable indicator of academic progress. A comparable uniform testing system for all Tibetan schools at the lower levels is not in place. Efforts will be made to define clearly the standards of attainment at the end of each sub-stage, through a common examination system in all Tibetan schools. The CTA will endeavor in the next few years to develop standardized achievement tests in different subjects for various school levels to check the health of the school system.
CHAPTER 5: THE TEACHER
STATUS AND EMOLUMENT OF TEACHERS
5.1 The thrust of our educational endeavors will be to consolidate and improve the quality of education in our schools. The professional competence, integrity and motivation level of teachers will determine the success or failure of our aims and policies. No effort will be spared to improve the status of teachers. Seminars and other formats will be employed, teachers and various segments of the society will be consulted and measures developed to improve teacher status.
5.2 There is a great need at this point of time to attract committed and talented Tibetan youths into this profession, particularly in specialized subjects at the secondary and senior secondary stage. Ways and means will be sought to further improve emoluments and service conditions of teachers, above what would be commensurate with their social and professional responsibilities, to attract such talent in keeping with the needs of the hour.
5.3 Promotion avenues for deserving teachers will be opened. A system of carefully thought-out graded pay-scale will be devised and implemented which provides opportunities for deserving teachers to be promoted to a higher pay-scale within a stipulated time-frame. The idea is to eliminate stagnation and resulting discouragement.
5.4 Service conditions and emoluments of teachers will be reviewed periodically and necessary changes will be initiated by the CTA.
5.5 Personal and professional growth of teachers is a desired objective. Opportunities will be provided for teachers to attend inservice programs and to avail study leave for pursuing higher education and research.
RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING OF TEACHERS
5.6 The quality of teachers in our schools will be improved by a professional approach to recruitment. Vacancies in schools will be widely publicized to attract the maximum number of candidates and a better screening of candidates from the widened base will be conducted.
5.7 Adequate numbers of teachers will be recruited to ensure that there is a healthy teacher to student ratio.
5.8 The fulfillment of basic qualifications and merit will be criteria for selection of candidates.
5.9 The pre-primary stage requires teachers with special aptitude and this aspect will be an important consideration for recruitment.
5.10 Efforts will be made to ensure that all teachers have undergone appropriate pre-service training at one of the teachers training centers currently available.
5.11 In surveys conducted for the CSR 1998, there was near unanimity among teachers that they found inservice training very useful. Efforts will be made to ensure suitable orientation and inservice training to a maximum number of teachers. Experienced teachers will be called upon to act as resource persons and issues related to actual problems faced in our classrooms will be dealt with at such courses.
5.12 The CTA will monitor the programmes of the Teachers Training Centers and ensure that the contents of the courses are suitable and adequate, and that contemporary student-centered, activity-based methods of teaching are taught.
The importance on the quality of teaching cannot be overemphasized and teacher training will play a key role to ensure this.
5.13 Apart from a modern approach to teaching, teacher training should aim at developing in future teachers a sound understanding of children and be able to transmit in them a love for learning.
5.14 Teacher training and in-service programmes will familiarize all teachers with the four pillars of education highlighted by the Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century:
Learning to know or learn, which should lead to learning throughout life
Learning to do, in order to acquire not only occupational skills but also more broadly the competence to deal with many situations and work in team.
Learning to live together, by developing an understanding of other people and an appreciation of interdependence
Learning to be, so as to better develop one’s personality.
5.15 According to information from the surveys conducted for the CSR 1998, an overwhelming majority of students said that they spent most of their time in class in ‘listening to their teachers.’ In fact it seems that students are so conditioned to passive listening that nearly 40% of students surveyed said that they ‘enjoyed’ listening to the teacher rather than other classroom related activities. Suitable changes must be brought forth to encourage creativity and free thought. The new thinking will be that teachers are facilitators of the teaching learning process. They will guide and assist the growth of children to their full latent potential rather than ‘give’ knowledge to the children. While appropriate teacher training methodologies will result in new teachers employing activity based methods, realizing the enormity and seriousness of the problem, a series of periodic in-service training programs will be conducted to remedy current out-dated teacher centered teaching methods.
5.16 Improved teaching methodologies and increased classroom activities will bring about both the desire for and the pleasure in learning, the ability to learn how to learn and to develop intellectual curiosity.
TEACHER APPRAISAL AND ACCOUNTABILITY
5.17 Accountability among teachers is currently lacking. Suitable strategies will be evolved to bring about accountability among teachers with the aim of improving the standard of teaching and to minimize the chances of teachers executing their duties in a casual way.
5.18 Teacher accountability will not necessarily denote criticism, faultfinding or an attempt to declare a teacher unfit for the job. The effort will be to make better teachers – to make them know their strengths and to enable them to overcome their weaknesses. The very purpose of teacher appraisal will be to see whether the teacher needs guidance, equipment or any other help to better perform their duties.
5.19 Teacher appraisal will also provide constructive feedback, recognize outstanding service, and provide direction for development programmes.
CHAPTER 6: THE MANAGEMENT OF EDUCATION
THE MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF SCHOOLS
6.1 The focus of changes in the management of schools will be to improve the functioning of schools and the quality of education. To achieve these aims strategies will be evolved to decentralize and streamline the administration, and to empower institutional heads and local management for improving performance.
6.2 Decentralization and empowerment should lead to increased accountability of institutional heads and teachers.
INSTITUTIONAL PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT
6.3 In view of the great need to improve standards of education, a comprehensive programme of school improvement should be developed so that each school could continually strive to achieve the best results of which it is capable. Each school would be required to prepare its own developmental programmes over a given time. Each such plan will necessarily include proposals for the improvement of the physical facilities in the institution. Efforts should be made to improve the facilities through the cooperation of the local community. Moreover, there are a large number of programmes which an educational institution can undertake on the basis of human effort and in spite of paucity of resources. These may include: reduction in stagnation and wastage; improvement of teaching methods; enrichment of curricula; improved methods of organizing the instructional programme of the school; special attention to the weak and gifted students; increasing the professional competence of teachers through self- study, etc.
The Role of the Department of Education
6.4 The Department of Education (DOE) is the apex body charged with the responsibility for provision of educational opportunities for Tibetan children and youth in exile at different stages of education, viz. pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary education.
6.5 It will oversee the implementation of all the policy matters as enunciated in the Tibetan Education Policy in Exile
THE TIBETAN BOARD OF SCHOOL EDUCATION (TBSE)
6.6 It is proposed that a permanent Tibetan Board of School Education be set up as an autonomous body. All Tibetan schools under the CTA will be required to be affiliated with it and will implement its directives. Private schools will be welcome to apply for affiliation. The board will perform the following functions:
To develop the school curriculum and syllabus in the different subjects for Tibetan schools wherever possible.
To set qualification norms for the recruitment of teachers;
To recommend appropriate text-books;
To conduct, evaluate and issue certificates of School Board Examinations; and
To set norms, conduct inspection and accord approval to Tibetan educational institutions and teacher trianing centres wanting to seek affiliation with TBSE
ACADEMIC SUPPORT SYSTEM, RESEARCH AND TRAINING CENTER
6.7 In order to consolidate the gains made in the field of education in exile and to improve the quality of education in our schools, an autonomous body will be developed at the center to promote educational research and provide academic support to our schools. Available human resources within our community will be explored and if need be suitable candidates will be sent for advanced training at premier educational institutes in India or abroad. One of its first priorities will be to develop appropriate implementation strategies for the various changes and programmes envisaged in the education policy.
INVOLVEMENT OF PARENTS AND COMMUNITY
6.8 The involvement of parents and the community in the education of our children will be increased. This is in line with the needs assessed by the Current Status Report of 1998 and the Report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first century wherein they have stressed, ” Local community participation in assessing needs by means of a dialogue with the public authorities and groups concerned in society is a first, essential stage in broadening access to education and improving its quality.” Parent Teacher Associations in schools will be strengthened and various other strategies will be devised to increase the involvement of the parents and the community in the educational process.
6.9 The success of schooling to a large extent depends upon the value placed on education by the community. Education needs to be seen by the community as applicable to their real-life situations, needs and aspirations. Increased interaction between school and community and suitable parent education will lead to a better understanding of the value of education.
6.10 Over the past forty plus years in exile, our community has made a great effort to develop school infrastructure with the valuable assistance of the Government of India, NGOs and other host countries.We have spent a great deal of the resources available to the community on this. Even in the late nineties, from the budgetary study of the four major school categories – CTSA, STSA, TCV and THF, nearly a quarter of all financial resources available were spent on the development of infrastructure. The result is there for all to see – much of the basic school infrastructure is in place.
6.11 Yet, our survey showed that there are some keys areas of school infrastructure that needed to be strengthened .The thrust of our efforts in the education sector will now be to ensure the qualitative improvement of education and towards that aim, the following will be our priorities:
The development and improvement of libraries and ensuring that adequate reference material is available.
Efforts will be made to ensure that all schools have access to computers and computer education.
Suitable measures will be taken to develop and upgrade health facilities.
The school assembly hall is an indispensable unit in our schools. Apart from housing the morning assemblies, much of our cultural related activities are staged in them. Over a third of the schools surveyed said that their hall needed to be upgraded while a few schools had no halls at all. Efforts will be made to address this issue too.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND INSTITUTIONS
6.12 The CTA will welcome the setting up of schools and educational institutions by private persons and societies. Education is a public good that should be available to all and any individual or group that contributes towards this end should be welcome. At the same time, there is a need to ensure that the quality of education and standard of facilities available in such schools are up to the mark. A system of affiliation with the Tibetan Board of School Education, Dharamsala, will be developed and suitable norms for affiliation will be formulated.
CHAPTER 7: EDUCATIONAL FINANCE
7.1 The CTA has consistently invested a large proportion of its resources on education. The education sector will continue to be a priority for the CTA and resource allocation on education to continue to remain between thirty five to forty five percent of the total community’s resources.
7.2 The study of utilization pattern of funds in our schools between 1992 to 1997 show that about 25 % of all funds were spent on Projects. This is because investments continued in developing basic infrastructure. The thrust of our efforts will now be on consolidation and improving the over-all quality of education in our schools. Towards this end, more investments will be made on teacher training; setting up of infrastructure for information and communication technology; development and maintenance of science laboratories and libraries; procurement of modern audio-visual teaching-learning aids and to improve the level of nutrition, health and sanitation in our schools.
7.3 The need to increase the role of the parents and community in the education of children has been emphasized earlier. Given the fact that many Tibetan families have improved their financial conditions over the years, more parents should contribute to the educational endeavor not just to increase resources but to develop in them a greater sense of responsibility for the education of their children.
7.4 Continued efforts will be made to generate necessary resources for educational programs envisaged in this policy through grants and donations from individual and organizations. For greater self reliance, avenues will be explored to generate resources from within the community.
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR HIGHER STUDIES AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION
7.5 The policy for award of scholarships will take into account the human resource needs of our community in exile and of our nation. It is our hope that a large number of scholarships will be available to develop the available pool of talent. The policy will ensure that there is adequate diversity in the fields of study at higher education to meet crucial manpower needs for national development in different sectors. The scholarships scheme will be periodically reviewed in accordance with resources available and matching needs of our community.
7.6 Realizing that education is the most powerful shield for the present and coming generations of Tibetan youth who are at risk owing to being uprooted from their own culture and facing difficulty adjusting to life in the host countries, efforts will be made to make available to them scholarships in a diverse range of educational, vocational and technical programs suited to their aptitudes.
CHAPTER 8: FUTURE
While formulating this Tibetan Education Policy in exile, an attempt has been made to offer some recommendations for a future free Tibet wherever relevant and possible. But a detailed study of the current situation in Tibet needs to be studied and then a suitable policy formulated.
The implementation of the various recommendations contained in this policy must be reviewed after every five years. Appraisals at short intervals will also be made to ascertain the progress of implementation and the trends emerging from.