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Two Major Initiatives Propel The 14th Kashag’s Education Agenda

Sikyong Lobsang Sangay at the TEP Launch Ceremony with USAID India Mission Director William Hammink and Tibet Fund Representatives
Dharamshala: - Within a span of three days, the Central Tibetan Administration’s Department of Education announced two major initiatives aimed at addressing the core educational priorities of the 14th Kashag.

The two separate but related initiatives reflect CTA’s desire to come up with innovative approaches to long-standing educational challenges, and are based on the three guiding principles of unity, innovation and self-reliance.


The first initiative announced on November 20, 2012 is a new scholarship program based on merit as well as need. The new program, which represents a 50% increase in annual scholarship funding, will incentivize talented and hard-working students to perform even better while continuing to support economically disadvantaged students and families. The new scholarship program aims to promote academic excellence, produce more scholars and professionals, and also support economically disadvantaged students. It seeks to fulfill the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and reflects the 14th Kashag prioritization of investing in education. “The Department of Education will strive to provide more scholarship in the coming years that support better human resource development and enhance over all Tibetan capability,” said Education Kalon and Sikyong, Dr. Lobsang Sangay.

The new scholarship program includes:

·      Increasing both the number and amount of Gaden Phodrang Student Merit Awards to a total of nine students and the cash award to 20,000 INR, 15,000 INR and 10,000 INR for the top three recipients in each of the three streams of science, arts and commerce.

·      Launching a new annual Sikyong Scholarship to encourage students to work harder and perform better in the board exams. This prestigious scholarship of 100,000 INR will be awarded to students obtaining 95% or higher in the 12th grade board exam.

·      Launching a new annual Sikyong Award for Academic Accomplishments of 20,000 INR along with a certificate of appreciation to those who have completed a Ph.D.

·      Initiating a new merit-based scholarship scheme where students scoring higher percentages on the annual exam will be rewarded with higher scholarship amounts. Presently, the Department of Education provides the same scholarship amount to all the students irrespective of performance. So, a student with a 60% score receives the same amount as one with 80% score. Under the new scholarship scheme, students will receive annual scholarships ranging from 35,000 INR to 100,000 INR depending on their performance.

·      Providing cash incentive award where scholarship recipients scoring 75% or more in their yearly final examinations will receive an extra 10,000 INR.

·      Offering special scholarships for economically disadvantaged (Nyamthak) students where students falling under this category are eligible to apply for scholarship. The only requirements being that the students score a minimum of 40% in the board examination.

The second and larger initiative was the official launch of the Tibet Education Project (TEP) on November 23, 2012. TEP is a two-year program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help improve the quality of education opportunities for Tibetan refugee students in India and Nepal. USAID awarded US$2 million to Tibet Fund, a U.S.-based NGO operating out of New York City, to implement the program.

The TEP will be implemented in close cooperation with the CTA’s Department of Education. “This new initiative will provide a significant boost in strengthening the overall Tibetan education system and provide much-needed resources to realize some of the core educational goals of my administration. I want to thank USAID, Under Secretary Maria Otero and the Office of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues for making this program possible,” said Sikyong Lobsang Sangay.

The Sikyong; Bill Hammink, USAID Mission Director in India; Sang Lee, USAID Agreement Officer Representative; Rinchen Dharlo, President of Tibet Fund; Bob Ankerson, Vice President of Tibet Fund; and senior officials of the CTA’s Department of Education attended the launch ceremony.

Reflecting on the TEP grant, Mission Director Hammink said, “The U.S. Government is committed to assisting Tibetan refugees in the region. Through the delivery of strategic educational programming, the project will produce significant gains in the educational outcomes of the Tibetan school system as a whole and will equip young Tibetans to succeed in the global economy while retaining their identity and culture.”

Mr. Dharlo speaking on behalf of Tibet Fund said, “We are extremely grateful to the Sikyong and his Administration for effectively communicating the educational needs and priorities to relevant United States Government officials, and helping make TEP possible. We look forward to working closely with the CTA’s Department of Education.”

The overall goal of the Tibet Education Project is to contribute to the revitalization of Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal by strengthening the Tibetan education system in innovative, replicable ways that equip young Tibetans to succeed in modern professions, become strong and visionary leaders, and thrive in the global economy while sustaining their unique identity and culture. To accomplish this the project will focus on three core objectives:

·      Enhance the capacity of Tibetan educational professionals and increase young Tibetans’ interest in pursuing educational and other modern professions

·      Improve learning opportunities for Tibetan students to prepare for modern professions while retaining their Tibetan identity

·      Strengthen management and development of the Tibetan education system.

To achieve these objectives the project will provide support and introduce systemic innovations through the following six project components:

1.     Intensify Teacher Development and Training

2.     Expand the Scholarship Program

3.     Scale the Counseling Program

4.     Prioritize Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

5.     Test Preparation and Coaching for Secondary School Students

6.     Improving Educational Management.


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