Mandarin fails to attract Tibetan students
Tibetan Leaders may be trying hard to woo Chinese counterparts to engage in talks to resolve the half a century old Tibetan issues, but the other side of the story reveals that Tibetan community in exile is least interested in the Mandarin (Chinese language) that was introduced in monasteries by the Tibetan government in Exile.
Even after continuous encouragement of the Tibetan government in exile, there are few takers of the language. Acting on the suggestion of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, Department of Religion and Culture, Central Tibetan Administration had introduced Mandarin in Tibetan monasteries and nunneries scattered across India, Nepal and Bhutan in the year 2007.
Dalai Lama had advised the Department of Religion and Culture to explore ways of upgrading the curriculum of monastic academia, by including Chinese language classes.
The language was included in the curricula as an optional subject along with other foreign languages like Russian and Japanese. The Department of Religion and Culture had asked all the monastery schools administered by it to recruit trained Chinese teachers for the purpose.
However, even after five years after the initiative was undertaken the number of monasteries which are teaching Mandarin has just crossed half a dozen. There are over 250 monasteries and around 25 nunneries across India, Nepal and Bhutan.
“Yes we tried to encourage Tibetan students studying in monasteries to opt for Chinese language. However, the initiative has failed to evoke response from students,” said Pema Chinjor, Kalon (Minister) of the Department of Religion and Culture, CTA told Hindustan Times.
Citing the reason behind the lukewarm response, Chinjor said most of the students in monasteries prefer Hindi and English instead of opting for Chinese.
“Hindi because they have to earn a livelihood here in India and those who are interested in going abroad are learning English,” said Chinjor.
Chinjor further told that the monasteries those are teaching Mandarin are mostly in south India.
Meanwhile, Tibetan officials said that another reason why the initiative has failed was the shortage of trained Chinese teachers.
Tibetan department of religion had issued advertisements, in Tibetan newspapers and on online news service and also on its official website, but these advertisements did not evoke response.
Tibetan monasteries have spent five years in fruitless hunt for trained Chinese teachers despite their easy process of recruitment.
At initial stages 30 monasteries had responded to the new decision. Tibetan monks who were well-versed in Chinese language were recruited - as teachers.
Conferred with a Nobel Prize for Peace for his advocacy, Dalai Lama emphasizes the Tibetan people to improve their ties with Chinese people.