Department of Education

Department of Education is one of the seven main departments of the executive organ of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) based in Dharamshala, India. It was established in 1960 to look after the educational affairs of the Tibetan administration and community in exile. After coming into exile in 1959, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama gave top priority to education and requested the then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to establish separate schools for Tibetan refugee children.

The sole purpose of establishing separate schools for Tibetans in India is to provide quality modern education and preservation of the Tibetan language and culture at the same time. This idea is commonly referred to as the twin object of the Tibetan schools in exile and became the heart and soul of the Tibetan education policy. The overall level of success towards that object over the past 62 years has remained remarkably high.

The Department of Education currently oversees 62 Tibetan schools – excluding the pre-primary sections and private schools – in India and Nepal under different autonomous administrative bodies. There are around 15,155 students and 2,033 staff members in these schools. The autonomous school administrative bodies include Tibetan Children’s Villages (15 schools), Tibetan Homes Foundation (4 schools), Sambhota Tibetan Schools Society (34 schools), and Snow Lion Foundation (9 schools).

Despite miraculous past achievements, a general sense of dissatisfaction and a growing number of new challenges – some of which were of serious nature – began to surface during the last two decades. As a long-term measure against those challenges, the CTA framed a ‘Basic Education Policy’ in 2004 for implementation by the Department of Education and different school bodies.

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