|4. The Steady and Healthy Development of Modern Education (1987-Present).|
The State Council held the second conference on aiding Tibetan education in September 1987 in Beijing. The conference held that Tibetan education developed at a rate lower than that of China's inland areas. Major reason behind this lied in the shortage of talented people. It was decided during the conference that eight aid projects with a total investment of 60 million yuan be undertaken in Tibet. The conference adopted the plan on Inland Aid to Tibetan Education. In November of the same year, the Communist Party Committee and the people's government of the Tibet Autonomous Region jointly held the third education conference, which adopted the following principles: "Stressing primary education, giving priority to priority to the training of teachers, consolidating and enhancing college and university education, and actively developing vocational and adult education." The conference called for efforts to absorb other nationalities' experiences on running schools as well as advanced science and technology; integrate inheriting and carrying forward Tibetan traditions with learning advanced experience of the others in an organic way, thus creating a new way of running schools with distinct Tibetan characteristics. All these are aimed at accelerating the pace of Tibetan education,, promoting Tibet's economic development and preparing talented persons for the economic flourishing expected in the early 21st century. The conference also worked out special methods for the implementation of the plan on Tibet's educational structure reform.
The reform principles adopted during the above-mentioned two conferences proved to be correct and conformed with the actual conditions in Tibet. Therefore, both the fourth and fifth Tibetan conference in 1993 and 1994 on education reaffirmed the principles of "stressing primary education, giving priority to the training of teachers, consolidating and enhancing college and university education, and actively developing vocational and adult education." In March 1993, the State Council entrusted the State Education Commission to hold a work conference on aid to Tibetan education. The conference focused on ways and means for further development of Tibetan education. It worked out the principle that strenuous efforts should be made to help develop Tibetan education for a considerable period of time and in a gradual way. It affirmed a systematized approach for inland areas to contract to aid Tibet. It also called for efforts to do a good job of Tibetan classes in the hinterland. Meanwhile, the State Planning Commission, the Finance Ministry, and the State Education Commission jointly earmarked 41 million yuan in aid of Tibetan education, and planned to train all people involved in educational management and middle school headmasters in various prefectures, cities and counties.
The loving care of the Central Government, the huge support from the people throughout China and efforts made by the people's government of the Tibet Autonomous Region guaranteed conditions necessary for Tibet to develop education. In the past 10 years following the second conference on aid to Tibetan education, Tibetan education enjoyed steady, healthy, sustained and fast development. During this period, education was elevated to a more important position, and aroused more attention of leaders at all levels. Respect for teachers and advocating education became a social fashion. People became aware that science and education bring about economic growth. Various business and social circles began to show their concern and support to education. Meanwhile, all education-related rules and regulations were perfected, and educational organs readjusted, making them more suited to Tibet's economic and social conditions. Tibetan education has become mature as it mingles Tibet's traditional characteristics with a modern flavor.
Statistics show that, by the end of 1995, Tibet had 3,950 primary schools with 258,651 pupils, or 70 percent of the school-age children in formal education; 89 middle schools, with 33,009 students; 16 technical secondary schools, with 5,730 students; four colleges and universities, with 3,736 students. Besides, there were 750 students learning at other job-training schools, 100,000 adults on cultural and technical courses, 10,000 children in kindergartens, and 10,222 Tibetans attending schools in inland areas. The total work force engaged in education totaled 21,000. Eighty percent of them were Tibetans and people of other ethnic groups. School conditions were greatly improved. Each school had its own classrooms. Every student had a chair and a desk. All schools had basic teaching equipment and facilities. There were 100 educational satellite ground stations in various prefectures and couties of Tibet. Computers, TV sets and audio-videos have made way into classrooms. The drop-out rate in primary schools has dwindled and the graduation rate increased.
Tibet's educational development has improved the cultural quality of the Tibetans, and increased the scientific and technological level of the economic sector in Tibet; and promoted cultural and ethical progress in the autonomous region. Educated youths, imbued with new ideology, have cut a brilliant figure in the development of commodity economy. This has enriched the vitality of Tibet.