Tibetan monks to learn Chinese
Friday, 22 June 2007, 3:29 p.m.
Dharamshala: As the Tibetans grapple with the task of negotiating a shared future with China, the importance of learning Chinese language has been gaining significance not only in the exile Tibetan schools, but also in the monasteries.
Over the past four decades, the Tibetan community in exile has established over 200 monasteries and nunneries with an enrollment of over 20,000 monks and nuns.
As far back as 2005, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has advised the Department of Religion and Culture to explore ways of upgrading the curriculum of monastic academia, by including Chinese language classes.
Conforming to the expressed wish of His Holiness, the Department proposed to furnish Chinese language teachers to all the major Tibetan monasteries located across the length and breadth of India.
The Department’s proposition has gained some momentum since this April, said Religion and Culture Secretary Tsering Dhondup Namey-lahkhang.
While three monasteries, including Gomang, Drikung Chetsang and Gaden, have already recruited three of their own monks – recent refugees, who are well-versed in Chinese language – as teachers, eight other major monasteries have requested the Department to recruit for them.
After inviting application from qualified people, the Department recently screened six candidates, of which three are female. As all the six candidates have cleared the oral and written tests, they are now awaiting deputation in any of the eight monasteries, which includes Sakya, Drepung Loseling, Sera Jhe, Sera Med, Gyudtoe, Gyudmed, Tashi Lhunpo and Ratod.
Mr Dhondup further said that although the Department will furnish the monthly salaries of the teachers, the respective monasteries must arrange their accommodations. Furthermore, as requests for Chinese language teachers are still pouring in from many other monasteries, the Department may be recruiting more teachers in the months to come, he added.
As far as the 80-odd Tibetan schools across India and Nepal are concerned, under the three-language policy of the Basic Education Policy for Tibetan in Exile, the Tibetan students will also have the opportunity to learn Chinese.
According to the Policy, “Besides the primary mother tongue language, a student should be fully proficient in any one foreign language, and acquired a working knowledge of reading and writing in a third language after graduating from Class X.
“From the pre-primary level and up to class III, no other language besides Tibetan shall be taught.
“The teaching of second and third languages shall be started from class four and class six respectively.”