Every time Dekyi Drolkar sets foot in Beijing, she wonders if she is in the right place -- the capital has undergone so many changes that it has felt like a new city during each of her three visits.
For instance, the first thing the delegate to the 17th Party Congress noticed as she disembarked at the airport was the clear blue sky above her.
"The clear sky shows how much effort the city has made to protect the environment," she said.
During previous visits, the 37-year-old would find herself missing the nature of her Tibetan home after spending just a few days in the capital.
But she said she had every bit of confidence that that would not happen this year.
Upon her graduation from Southwest University in Chongqing, Dekyi returned to Lhasa in 1992 to teach history at a local middle school. She became an administrator in 2001, and eventually became the headmaster of the Lhasa No 2 Junior Middle School. She has to look after some 760 students - 500 of them Tibetan, 260 of them Han.
"We have launched many activities, such as an after-school English corner in order to bring the students together and raise their interest in both cultures," she said.
"Actually, many of our students of Han ethnicity can speak Tibetan, so there are no problems for them to communicate with the Tibetan students. Apparently, they have harmonious relationships."
According to statistics, 73 counties in Tibet were providing six years of compulsory education by the end of last year, while 49 counties nine-year programs.
More than 265,000 children whose parents are Tibetan peasants and herdsmen receive free education, accommodations and food.
Dekyi said the quality of education available in Tibet can be improved by creating opportunities for local teachers to observe the methods used at more advanced schools.
Giving more funding to schools in Tibet is also an important step, she said.
"The biggest obstacle for most schools is the lack of funding. However, it is not a very big issue for me because I will be able to apply for any funds from local authorities, which makes me feel confident," she said.
(China Daily October 17, 2007)