President Dr Lobsang Sangay addressing the seventh Tibetan General Conference on Education at T- Building, Dharamshala, India, on February 23, 2019. Photo: TPI/Yangchen Dolma

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Dharamshala, India — 'Education is the only way to defend our struggle and we must put our effort on education to have a successful future,' the Tibetan President Dr Lobsang Sangay said Tuesday while addressing the general conference on education, the largest gathering of teachers and school administrators on the education policy of the Tibetan exile community.

The seventh Tibetan General Conference on Education began Saturday at the T-building, Central Tibetan Secretariat in Dharamshala, India, on February 23, 2019. Approximately 242 participants comprising of principals, directors, teachers, and counsellors from 76 Tibetan schools in Nepal and India, are currently attending the three-day conference.

It said that the general conference on education is the largest gathering of teachers and school administrators on the education policy of the Tibetan exile community and is held once every five years. The agenda for this year’s conference include how to enhance the caliber of principles and headmasters, ways to improve the Basic Education Policy for Tibetans in exile while adding “secular ethics” to the policy and to change the existing outlook towards vocational education in the schools and the effective implementation of the basic education policy, introduced in 2004.

The chief guests at the inaugural ceremony of the conference were President Dr Lobsang Sangay, Ven Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament and Kargyu Dhondup, the Chief Justice Commissioner. Other guests include members of the Kashag, Tibetan parliamentarians, Secretaries, officials of the education department and the heads of various autonomous bodies of the Central Tibetan Administration.

In his address, President Dr Lobsang Sangay strongly lauded the efforts of Tibetan teachers in raising the overall education level of the Tibetan community. He said, due to the efforts of the Tibetan teachers, there is a huge improvement in the performance of Tibetan students in the academic field.

The President said that the literacy rate of the Tibetan people is higher than many other neighbouring countries. He reiterated that education is the only way to defend our struggle and we must put our effort on education to have a successful future. Dr Sangay reaffirmed the Kashag’s prioritisation of education and academic excellence as one of the most important components of their policies and vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Emphasising the significance of offering life long ceremony to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 27 February, President Dr Sangay said that it is a blessing for the teachers to be able to offer a long life offering ceremony. He further elaborated the current situation in Tibet that of Chinese policy implementation to eliminate the Tibetan language.

Citing the example of Jewish people excelling in education and achieving Nobel prizes was due to prioritising the importance of education, Dr Sangay affirmed that Kashag will facilitate the need for improvement. In the end, he reiterated on five fifty vision that we must work forward rather relying solely on His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he has done tremendous for last more than 70 years.

Deputy speaker, addressing the gathering, reminded about the huge contribution of former and late Indian Education Minister’s contribution towards Tibetan education. He further enlightened the current dire situation inside Tibet and thinks and discuss with having vision. He praised for Education for their hard work to complete most of the resolution from sixth general conference and urge to complete and to fulfill those which are yet to be done.

Education Secretary Karma Singye gave introductory remarks by reading out resolution passed during sixth general conference and apprised about the completion of the resolution. He then informs further about the future plan of the Department of Education in years to come.

Education Kalon Dr Pema Yangchen briefly read out annual report and pledge to work further to develop and implement the plan and Additional Secretary Jigme Namgyal gave a vote of thanks.

The conference is organised by the Department of Education, Central Tibetan Administration and funded by USAID through the Tibet Fund and will conclude on 25 February 2019. The first general conference was held in 1964 during the nascent stage of the Tibetan exile community. The last general conference was held in 2014.

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