While tensions rise in Tibet and surrounding areas in the run-up to March 10, the Christian Science Monitor reports on how Tibetans are preserving their culture and language through the education of their children in exile:
This month, the 50th anniversary of China’s occupation of Tibet, is a key one for the community. In anticipation of unrest, China has launched a “Strike Hard” campaign in Tibet and has stepped up security and arrests – though pro-Tibet protests are still erupting.
Ever since the Dalai Lama fled the invasion and set up an exile community here, his goal of autonomy for Tibet has remained elusive. But with China waging what he calls “cultural genocide” in Tibet, creating a solid education system has been central to his goal of preserving Tibetan culture.
The fact that “Tibetan exile society has established schools that function so successfully in India and provide a modern education is a considerable achievement in itself,” says Elliot Sperling, an expert at Indiana University.
What began in 1960 as a ramshackle nursery for Tibetan orphans has grown into almost 80 schools across India, Nepal, and Bhutan. There are 17 TCV branches with at least 12,000 students. The system as a whole enrolls about 28,000 students and includes day schools, nurseries, vocational institutes, and training centers.