DHARAMSHALA: The Upper Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) School began its three-day celebration to mark its 57th founding anniversary today with ‘Secular Ethics’ as its central theme for the year.
The chief guest at the opening ceremony was President Dr Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration and the guest of honour was Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
Other guests at the celebration include members of the 15th Kashag, members of the standing committee of the Tibetan Parliament, Tibetan Justice Commissioners, heads of Tibetan governmental and non-governmental organisations, recipients of TCV 20 Years Service Award, TCV Alumni class of 1992 Batch and long time supporters and donors. Thousands of Tibetans and Non-Tibetans have also joined in the celebration.
Addressing the occasion, President Dr Lobsang Sangay applauded the school for over 50 years of service in the field of Tibetan education. “As per the aspiration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the vision of the Central Tibetan Administration, TCV has been serving the Tibetan community by providing quality education to Tibetan children for over five decades now. For that, I sincerely applaud and thank the school for its distinguished record,” he said.
Dr Sangay also highlighted the importance of secular ethics in schools as emphasised by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and called for incorporating secular ethics in Tibetan school curriculum. “His Holiness the Dalai Lama has long advocated the importance of secular ethics to develop a peaceful world. In fact, Universities and schools have also started incorporating secular ethics as part of their academic syllabus. Therefore, it is high time we should also start incorporating secular ethics in Tibetan schools,” he said, adding that secular ethics is the basis for compassionate leadership in the future.
Dr Sangay further spoke about the democratic Tibetan administration established by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the active participation of the Tibetan public in the Tibetan democratic process. He described the democratic administration as a pride of the Tibetan people and a model for other refugee communities across the world. At the same time, he emphasised the importance of Tibetan unity and denounced the few anti-social elements that misuse democracy to foment disunity in the community.
He described schools as the temple of learning where parents entrust their children, and therefore underscored the significance of the role played by the staff and teachers of schools. He urged them to teach Tibetan children the importance of unity along with education. He also informed the administration’s zero tolerance policy against sexual harassment in schools.
Guest of Honour Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel of the Tibetan Parliament, in his address, spoke about the evolution of the Tibetan exile community since the early days of Tibetan exile under the visionary leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He also commended the advancement of Tibetan education over the years and reiterated His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message that Tibetan children are the future seeds of the Tibetan movement.
He read out a brief history of the Tibetan children’s village and its achievements under the pioneering leadership of late Tsering Dolma and later under Jetsun Pema, elder and younger sister of His Holiness the Dalai Lama respectively. He further highlighted His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s continued emphasis on the education of Tibetan children.
Speaker also talked about the deteriorating political and human rights situation inside Tibet under China and urged Tibetans across the world to raise awareness about the same in their respective capacities.
The celebration was marked with students contingent march past, cultural performances and calisthenics display. The inter-house athletics meet will be held tomorrow followed by a TCV alumni of 1992 batch gathering on the third day.
TCV is the largest residential school of the exiled Tibetan community. It was founded in 1960 as a nursery with 51 children. TCV has become an integrated educational community for Tibetan children in exile, as well as for hundreds of those escaping from Tibet each year. With established branches in India extending from Ladakh in the North to Bylakuppe in the South, TCV has over 15,000 children under its care. It is a registered, nonprofit charitable organisation with headquarter based at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, North India.