Washington DC: Office of Tibet Washington DC held a virtual meeting of Heads of North America Weekend Tibetan Language and Culture Schools on Saturday, October 23rd, 2021.
It was attended by 28 school heads of 20 Weekend Schools namely Tibetan Associations of Capital area (CATA), New York & New Jersey, Portland, Minnesota, Tibetan Association of Northern California (TANC), Atlanta, Philadelphia, Ithaca, Amherst- MA, Chicago, Wisconsin, Colorado, Utah, Seattle Washington, Connecticut, and Charlottesville. The participants from Canada are Toronto-Ontario, British Columbia-Vancouver, Alberta-Calgary, Montreal-Quebec. All the meeting was well attended despite Saturday being a day off for most of them.
Representative Ngodup Tsering welcomed the participants and spoke about the purpose of the meeting. He told them that the Tibetan language is facing an existential threat in Tibet as a part of the Chinese government effort to wipe off Tibetan culture and identity entirely from the earth. Therefore, all of us in the diaspora need to strengthen our children’s teaching-learning of the Tibetan language.
With the introduction of bilingualism, Tibetan children in Tibet are being taught Chinese Mandarin language, right from KG and incentivising it. Now it has become a challenge for our youngsters to speak and understand the Tibetan language. Therefore, Tibetans in the diaspora have a greater responsibility to preserve it.
Secretary Tashi Dhondup briefed on the Weekend School Survey Report 2019-2020 conducted with the help of Dr Namgyal L. Kyulo and Tenzin Nuba and Charter School Feasibility Report by Peter Arvo.
All members discussed and agreed on strengthening the Weekend schools, including providing in-service training/workshops for the teachers and standardising the textbooks of 5-8th grade by the Department of Education, CTA. The need to hold workshops for the parents about speaking in their mother tongue at home is emphasised. The Tibetan Associations were encouraged to hold workshops in their respective schools for which the OoT will assist in finding the expertise/trainers and some grants.
The meeting was followed by a Q&A session where the participants made many questions and suggestions.
-Report filed by OoT Washington DC