Dharamshala: - The sixth Tibetan General Conference on Education kicked off at the Lower TCV School in Dharamshala, on 7 January. Over 236 participants including principals, directors, teachers and counselors from 76 Tibetan schools in Nepal and India, are attending the 3-day conference on education in exile.
The conference is the largest gathering of teachers and school administrators on education policy of the Tibetan exile community and is held once every five years.
The agenda for this year's conference includes professional development of teachers, emphasis on primary education particularly science and mathematics, and the effective implementation of the basic education policy which was implemented in 2004.
The chief guests at the opening ceremony of the conference were Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Mr. Penpa Tsering, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament and Mr. Ngawang Phelgyal Gyechen, the Chief Justice Commissioner. Other guests include members of the Kashag, Tibetan parliamentarians, officials of education department and the heads of various autonomous bodies of the Central Tibetan Administration.
In his address, Sikyong cum education Kalon, Dr Lobsang Sangay lauded the efforts of Tibetan teachers in raising the overall education level of the Tibetan community. He stated that because of the efforts of the Tibetan teachers, there has been a huge improvement in the performance of Tibetan students in competitive academic examinations.
He also said that the literacy rate of the Tibetan people is higher than many other south Asian countries.
Even on the basis of gender, he noted, that there is an inspiring trend of girls outnumbering boys in the pursuit of higher studies in colleges and universities. He encouraged more students to pursue specialized education in diverse academic fields.
Sikyong Dr Sangay reaffirmed the 14th Kashag's prioritization of education and academic excellence as one of the most important component of their policies. "When it comes to dialogue with the Chinese or garnering worldwide support for the Tibet issue, we are dependent on the other party's response. But regarding the education of the Tibetan people, it is something that we can and have to do ourselves. Therefore, if we fail in education, it is solely our responsibility," he said.
In his address, speaker Penpa Tsering talked about the importance of the basic education policy of the Tibetan exiles and urged the Kashag and the education department, to direct their concerted efforts towards the full implementation of the policy.He also emphasized the need to review the resolutions passed at earlier conferences to better uphold standards of educational excellence.
Speaker Penpa Tsering also underscored the immense importance of preserving and promoting Tibetan culture and language to create a robust Tibetan identity in exile.
The Tibetan general conference on education is organized by the Department of Education, Central Tibetan Administration and will conclude on 9 January 2014.
The first general conference was held in 1964 during the nascent stage of Tibetan exile community. The last general conference was held in 2009 and was inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.