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Tibetan children banned from being taught their mother tongue even outside their Chinese-medium school system

(TibetanReview.net, Nov04’21) – China has not only replaced Tibetan with Mandarin Chinese as the only language of instruction in schools across the Tibetan Plateau but has also banned Tibetan children from being taught their mother tongue even outside the state school system during winter holidays, according to the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Nov 3, citing sources in Qinghai Province.

The report said a notice on the ban was sent out in October to all districts and cities in the province, which constitutes the bulk of the traditional Tibetan Province of Amdo (or Domey).

“No individual or organization is allowed to hold informal classes or workshops to teach the Tibetan language during the winter holidays when the schools are closed,” the report quoted the source as saying, obviously speaking on condition of anonymity.

Teachers across the province were reported to have been summoned to meetings prior to the notice to inform them of the ban. Anyone caught violating the government’s order will face “serious legal consequences and punishment,” they were stated to have been warned.

In the state school system, where Tibetan children have to compulsorily enrol, subjects like math and science are already taught in Chinese in all the elementary schools, “and except for formal classes in the Tibetan language itself, all other subjects will gradually be taught in Chinese too,” the report quoted one source as saying.

Earlier, Chinese authorities in Qinghai banned monasteries from holding Tibetan language classes for young Tibetans during their school holidays. Besides, authorities in Qinghai and the Tibetan areas of neighbouring Sichuan Province also closed down privately-run schools that offered Tibetan Language and culture classes.

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