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Students in Tibet appeal for teaching in Tibetan, call out inequality among languages

June 9, 2018

Phayul, June 02, 2018 - Amid acute shortage of teachers that teach in Tibetan langauge students from the occupied Tibet`s eastern province of Qinghai have reportedly appealed in writing to authorities demanding teachers that can teach in both Tibetan and Chinese.

Prior to the 2018 school schedule, students living in Qinghai’s Tsoshar municipality appealed authorities to hire bilingual teachers, Radio Free Asia reported. The students pointed out that none out of 359 teachers freshly placed in their region can teach in both languages.

The letter sent by students in Chinese questioned the why the authorities in their County have lagged in hiring bilingual teachers given the area had huge number of Tibetans. “So given the reality of these inadequate teaching resources in Tsoshar, it is unfathomable that the hiring of bilingual teachers is not given priority by the authorities,” the letter stated.

The students also expressed that underlying lack of equality for Tibetans reflecting through the particular incident. “When there is no equality among languages, how can there be harmony and equality among [China’s] nationalities?” the letter questioned.

The refusal to accept the mass sinicization of the Tibetan schools and the education system has been a bone of contention among Tibetans in occupied Tibet. Chinese government attempts to make mandarin the sole language in schools in Qinghai province in October 2010 was met with protests on a huge scale. The move was later postponed.

Tibetan language activist Tashi Wangchuk`s case highlights the issue surrounding the official attempt to sideline the Tibetan language giving priority to mandarin even in areas inhibited predominantly by Tibetans. Wangchuk has been sentenced to five years imprisonment last month by Yushu Intermediate People’s Court, in Jyekundo County in the Kham region of Tibet. Tashi was arrested on 27 January 2016 after a New York Times news article and a video report came out, documenting Tashi’s mission to file a formal complaint against Chinese officials for failing to support Tibetans’ right to Tibetan language education.

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