Tupdhen Khedrup, vice-dean and associate professor at
University’s School of Tourism and Foreign Languages, told
China.org.cn in Beijing on Friday that, despite many challenges the
university is making great progress.
Khedrup, also a member of the National Committee of
the 10th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC),
said, “I am especially concerned about higher education in Tibet. I
have worked at Tibet University for over ten years. To be frank, in
the past I wished to leave for a better place because it was not so
good in many aspects.
“But now I don’t think in that way. Great changes
have taken place in the university in recent years, which make it
better than many others, including those in more developed areas of
the country. Now I’m proud of the university and no longer want to
“The university has seen a big increase in
investment spent on facilities since former vice premier Li Lanqing
visited it in August 2000. During his visit, he promised more
support and urged us to build a first-class university in west
China with unique Tibetan characteristics.
“The local government and the Ministry of Education
have pledged to collaborate in developing the university.
“In recent years, under the support of the
ministry, the university has expanded its faculty, staff and size.
Moreover, it has launched many applied courses that serve the needs
of local development, such as engineering, agriculture and animal
“This year, central government has allocated 540
million yuan (US$65.24 million) to build a new campus, and another
30 million yuan (US$3.6 million) for renovation of the present
However, in contrast with the huge increase in
student recruitment at many other universities since 1999, which
resulted in complaints over declining standards, Tibet University
has not significantly raised the number of admissions, said
“Having visited many top universities in places
such as Beijing and Sichuan, I think the teaching quality, school
management and study environment at our university are no
worse than at most other universities in the country.
“Discipline for our teachers is very strict. For
example, if a teacher is one minute late for class, they will lose
their monthly bonus.
“Students are very diligent because they, like any
other university student in the country, face the prospect of
seeking employment after graduation. Besides, they have to deal
with three languages: Tibetan, mandarin and a foreign language.
“The university adopts bilingual education in
Tibetan and mandarin. The choice of teaching language is decided by
classroom ethnic ratio: courses will be taught in the language
spoken by the majority of students. However, every student can
understand mandarin well. Teachers offer special explanations in
Tibetan for students from families of farmers or herdsmen in remote
areas, who may not understand mandarin well at first. Many ethnic
Han students, including those from outside Tibet, also study the
“The university’s undergraduate and postgraduate
students are from every part of China, but most are from Tibet. The
Tibetan/Han student ratio is about 60:40. Female students account
for about half of the student body. The university also has a big
proportion of women employees and its female graduates are well
accepted by employers.
“Most of the university’s graduates go on to
grassroots work in townships and counties. They are required by the
local government to do this for at least one or two years before
they can work in cities. Very few graduates seek jobs outside
“Tibet University is rich in Tibetan cultural
resources in areas such as Tibetology, Tibetan religion, Tibetan
language, Tibetan medicine, Tibetan architecture, and Tibetan art
and music, pooling the most excellent talents in these fields.
“The university attaches great importance to
Tibetology because the leaders of the university understand that
it’s a specialty that will win it an international reputation.
“The university ranks high in research into
Tibetology. Some of its master’s degree dissertations are so
excellent that they compete with doctoral dissertations on the
subject from other universities and qualify for publication. In
addition, most of the university’s Tibetology researchers are in
“The university’s Tibetology master’s students
often conduct research in the region, as well as in Yunnan and
Qinghai provinces. They have gone to some remote areas, including
They have collected many rare artifacts about
Tibetan music, dance and religion. The university has also invited
many local singers, dancers and artisans as visiting lecturers,
according to Khedrup.
“Before I came to Beijing to attend the conference,
the president of our university asked me to hunt for top-caliber
talents in Tibetology here, saying our university will hire them at
any price,” said Khedrup.
“The president is an ethnic Han, a veteran educator
who has worked for over 20 years in Tibet. His enthusiasm for
Tibetology is even higher than ours.
“The university has established close cooperation
with other universities in the country in the study of
During the first session of 10th CPPCC in 2003,
Khedrup submitted a proposal asking the Ministry of Education to
give Tibet University the right to confer a doctoral degree in
Tibetology. The Academic Degree Committee of the State Council
later notified the university that they could launch a doctoral
program in collaboration with Sichuan University. Khedrup said that
this will be launched soon.
“Teachers have been actively involved in promotion
of local economic and social development. I myself participated in
a program to draft a 15-year plan for tourism in Tibet with
Tsinghua University, which lasted for about two years, and the
draft plan was approved days ago.
“Tibet University also developed the international
standard for Tibetan language used in computer applications, the
only one of China’s minority languages to do so.
“It is well equipped with computers and internet
connections, providing 24-hour free surfing. Multimedia methods are
widely used in teaching.
“Tibet University has links with 23 top
universities in the country. Teachers regularly take advanced
courses of study at other universities and return to teach,” said
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Chen Chao,
March 13, 2005)