Dalai Lama Inaugurates 5th Tibetan General Conference on Education

December 28th 2009

Dharamsala, HP, India, 27 December 2009 (By Phurbu Thinley, phayul.com) - The exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurated a three-day Tibetan General Conference on Education, the largest meet-up on education in the exile Tibetan community, here on Sunday.

Over 238 participants consisting of directors, principals, headmasters and senior teachers, from 85 Tibetan schools, including three higher studies centres, from across India, Nepal and Bhutan are taking part in the conference.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks at the inaugural session of the 5th Tibetan General Conference on Education at lower TCV School in Dharamsala, India, Sunday, December 27, 2009 (Photo by Dhonyoe)
The conference will witness exhaustive discussion on urgent matters relating to education and schools in the exile Tibetan community. The participants are expected to discuss on how to effectively implement The Basic Education Policy for Tibetans in Exile, which was announced in May 2005, and accordingly find ways to improve academic and discipline standards of the Tibetan schools and educational centres.

Discussions on the resolutions passed during the 4th general conference and improving studies of Tibetan language and culture are also high on the agenda.

Delivering the inaugural speech, His Holiness the Dalai Lama emphasised on the need to further improve the quality of education in the Tibetan community.

“Of course there are flaws and inadequacies in our educational standards, but being a refugee community we have comparatively achieved considerable success in our educational endeavours,” the Dalai Lama said referring to prevailing concerns over slackening educational quality in the Tibetan schools.

“To make improvements and achieve further progress in our educational quality, we must first have to identify the flaws, if any, in our system and should have the courage to openly admit them,” the Dalai Lama said. For that, the Tibetan leader said, it was necessary to conduct thorough and systematic assessment of the educational system and policy from time to time.

Tibetan Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche, in his cabinet speech, said making education opportunities available to the Tibetan refugee children was one of the most important tasks undertaken by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in exile towards the realization of immediate and long-term goals of the Tibetan people.

Expressing admiration and gratitude to the Tibetan leader for his farsighted vision in establishing a number of schools in exile that could care the children both with modern and traditional education, Rinpoche noted that sound education alone can ensure the preservation and promotion of the unique Tibetan culture and tradition in the long run.

Rinpoche said fulfilling the educational needs of the Tibetan refugee children has been one of the most important tasks being carried out both by the Tibetan people and the government.

From the conference, among other things, Rinpoche said his administration wanted to ascertain the obstacles and hindrances felt by teachers while implementing the Basic Education Policy in the schools and also to clearly understand the basis and reasons of disapproval shown by a section of Tibetan exiles and educational experts on the policy.

Rinpoche also noted that his administration would seek suggestions from the participants on how to encourage Tibetan students in pursuing specialised studies and to increase the number of qualified professionals in different fields in future.

Top officials of the Tibetan Government in Exile, including cabinet ministers, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament Mr Penpa Tsering and Justice Commissioners of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, attended the inaugural function here this morning.

The conference will be followed by a two-day seminar with scholars and experts in different fields of education taking part in it.

The first ever Tibetan General Conference on Education was held in 1964, four years after the Tibetan Government was re-established in exile. It was later held in 1972, 1985 and 2003.


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