School strives to preserve Tibetan culture

By Song Wei (
Updated: 2011-08-25 13:37
School strives to preserve Tibetan culture

Students take an elective Tibetan class at Minhang Boarding Middle School, Gyangze, Tibet's Xigaze prefecture, Aug 24, 2011. [Photo/]

XIGAZE, TIBET - It is 5:30 pm, the sun is still scorching the ground in Tibet. At Minhang Boarding Middle School, Gyangze, Tibet's Xigaze prefecture, some students are playing outside after school.

But a class has just begun. Thirty students, sitting on mats on the floor of a classroom elaborately decorated in the Tibetan style, are reading aloud in Tibetan. A teacher, sitting in the front, is leading the reading.

The school's principal, Tsering, introduced this as one of a few elective Tibetan classes, after school from Monday to Friday. The classes include Tibetan calligraphy, Tibetan poetry and other Tibetan cultural curriculum.

"I hope these classes will help those children to know more about Tibetan traditions and culture," said Tsering. "As I see it, it is a good way to preserve our Tibetan culture."

In the school, where 99 percent of students are Tibetan, the students have at least seven Tibetan classes every week, not counting elective classes.

"But the compulsory Tibetan classes do not seem enough," said Laro, who teaches an elective Tibetan class.

"For example, some students don't pay attention to Tibetan calligraphy even though they can speak it fluently, so our elective class can make up for that," explained Laro.

A 13-year-old student, Deji, said she has three optional Tibetan classes every week, and she enjoys every minute.

When asked about her dreams, the timid girl smiled and said, "I want to be a teacher."

Opened in 1995, the school was co-built by the education bureau of Tibet autonomous region and Shanghai's Minhang district, with each investing 3 million yuan. Now the school has about 2,200 students, of whom over 95 percent are children of herdsmen. Tibetan teachers make up over 75 percent of the school's faculty.

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