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Mother tongue banned from school curriculum of Tibetan prefecture in Sichuan province

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(TibetanReview.net, Oct12’23) – Implementing China’s assimilation campaign under the rubric of President Xi Jinping’s Sinicization drive, all the 20 or so counties in the historically Tibetan prefecture of Kardze (Chinese: Ganzi) of Sichuan Province will remove Tibetan language from their school curricula from next year, according research group Tibet Watch Oct 10.

The ban was reported to have been notified in a circular issued by the prefecture’s Education Bureau in September. The ban applies to holding of Tibetan language classes from primary to high secondary schools, said the group, which is associated with the London-based Tibet campaign group Free Tibet (freetibet.org).

This circular expanded a previous circular issued in March which said the ban will apply to Middle Schools in the prefecture.

Regarding the previous circular, freetibet.org Jun 16 quoted a graduate student in Tibet as saying, “I have graduated this year from Luding Tibetan Middle School, and this is the last year of Tibetan language class being taught in our school. When schools restarted after the Tibetan Losar break (New Year), the Kardze Prefecture Bureau of Education issued a notice banning the teaching of Tibetan language classes in middle schools.

“The notice state that from next year, 2024, there will be no teaching of Tibetan language classes in Kangding Zangwen Middle School, Luding Tibetan Middle School, Kardze Tibetan Middle School, Yajiang Tibetan Middle School and Dege Tibetan Middle School.”

However, the early Sep 2023 notice issued by the Bureau of Education of Kardze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture forbids Tibetan language classes from primary to high secondary schools in the prefecture, said Tibet Watch on its tibetwatch.org website Oct 10.

The report said that as a result of the ban on teaching Tibetan language, Tibetan teachers proficient in Mandarin had been assigned to teach classes in Chinese while those without Chinese language skill had been left to fend for themselves.

The report said that students graduating this school year will be taking their final examinations at Ngaba Nationality Senior High School in neighbouring Ngaba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. They will become the last graduates that studied Tibetan language in Kardze schools.

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