(TibetanReview.net, Dec 18) — There are now six colleges and universities in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) with their combined student strength being 27,000, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Dec 16. The news was reported in the context of celebrations held on the day to mark the entry of the University of Tibet into China’s key education development program, called Project 211. The listing meant the university became a national priority project for development.
While this may sound great in terms of improving higher-level education facility in Tibet, exile Tibetans have contended in the past that Tibetan students dominate only courses in traditional Tibetan studies while in the case of modern science and technology subjects, the students were overwhelmingly Chinese.
The report cited TAR’s governor Qiangba Puncog as promising more assistance to develop the overall level of higher education in Tibet. It also cited China’s Ministry of Education as announcing Dec 15 that the government would pour another 10 billion yuan (US $1.3 billion) to Project 211 to put more emphasis on western and ethnic minority areas.
Built in 1985 on the former Tibetan Normal University campus, the University of Tibet received 540 million yuan from Beijing for a new campus in 2004, which helped double its enrolling capacity to 8,000 students.