China aims for full enrolment of Tibetan children in Sinicization school system

Students attend class at Yiri Ecological Forest School in Chamdo. (Photo courtesy: Xie Wenting/GT)

(, May09’21) – China’s free education policies in Tibet have a sinister agenda: The Sinicization of the Tibetan people by means of marginalizing their language, culture, and way of life. It is, therefore, not surprising that Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) has been moving steadily toward full enrollment in preschool education thanks to the implementation of the region’s free education policies, as reported by China’s official Xinhua news agency May 8.

The policies are complemented by shutting down private schools which focus on teaching Tibetan language and culture and setting high student age and very low enrolment limits in the monastic education centres.

Education in schools in Tibet are now fully Sinicized, with Tibetan being taught only as a language subject and with tens of thousands of meritorious students being sent to schools in provinces in China for their further study.

By the end of 2020, the TAR’s gross enrollment rate for preschool education stood at 87.03%, up more than 52% from 2011, the report cited the regional education department as saying.

These enrollments come mostly at the cost of enrolment for monastic education.

The report said the ratio was higher than the rate of 85.2% for the whole of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

It said that currently there were some 2,200 kindergartens in TAR, which is over 10 times the figure for 2011, when the region expanded its free education policies for farmers and herders to cover preschool education.

Under the policies, the children of farmers and herders are stated to be exempted from meal, lodging and basic school expenses. Children of urban families in financial hardship are also said to be able to enjoy the policies.

The report said the policy began to be implemented in 1985 but is now apparently being more strictly implemented under President Xi Jinping’s current major Sinicization move. This has meant that the TAR has become the first provincial-level region in the PRC to provide 15 years of free education, from kindergarten to senior high school.

Preschool education has developed at a blistering pace over the past years, and such institutions now cover almost all cities, counties, townships and villages with a relatively large population in TAR, the report said.

It cited data as saying there were more than 150,000 students enrolled in kindergartens at present.


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