Jetsun Pema is known in Japan as a renowned Tibetan educationist who had dedicated most of her life in raising and educating the Tibetan children in exile based on the principle of love and compassion. Former Minister of Education of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in India, Jetsun Pema is the winner of 2006 World Children's Honorary Award for her 40-years struggle for The Tibetan refugee Children in India.
The Tibetan former minister briefed the audience about how children are brought up and educated in Tibetan children village schools in India. She said that the Buddhism is ingrained in every aspect of Tibetan culture and lives, and that the teaching of Buddhism - being kind and compassionate forms the integral part of Tibetan education system. "Education should enable the children to grow into good citizens embedded with all the positive attributes of human values." She said.
She said the motto of Tibetan education systems as "Others before self" and elaborated how this concept is being taught to the children. "We don't impose principles and Buddhist teachings on the children, rather effort is made to let the children grow in these principles and teachings so that they can appreciate what helping others and being kind actually means. Instead of making children feel guilty of their wrong doings, it is important to have them feel as a part of community and feel responsible."
Prof. Nagata commented that recent survey in Japan revealed that 50 per cent of high school students in Japan said that they are not confident about themselves and feels out of place, he asked Jetsun Pema how to handle this kind of situation. Former minister replied that important things is to have the children feel that they are responsible member of the society, and effort should be made to talk to the children individually. "Realization of interdependent nature of all things is important." She added.
On being asked how to inculcate compassion in children, Jetsung Pema said, "children learn best from example, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said, our first teacher is our mother. Unconditional love of mother teaches the children of love and compassion. So the compassionate act of teachers and staff has great influence on children's development."
Jetsun Pema, however, said, "Ours is not a perfect system, we do have problem of bad students, running away from school, doing drugs etc. But the number is small; we try our best to bring these students into mainstream by making them feel as a part of big family. Happiness is a state of mind, the moment you think for others, and your own problem is gone. This is what we try to pass onto the children." She added.
More than three hundred people including University students and educationists attended the talk. Rep. Lhakpa Tshoko of Liaison Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Japan & Asia thanked the organizing committee and the volunteers for their wholehearted effort in organizing this talk by Jetsun Pema to appraise the Japanese public and supporters about the Tibetan education system and to share views with Japanese educationists.
Former minister, Jetsun Pema and minister Tempa Tsering will meet a group of Chinese intellectuals in Tokyo for an informal discussion on Tibet issue tomorrow, and later participate in Flower festival cum picnic gathering organized by Tibetan and Mongolian community in Japan.