IV. All-round Development of Modern Science, Education and the Media
Since its peaceful liberation in 1951, along with the drive for modernization, in Tibet not only the fine traditional Tibetan culture has been inherited, protected and promoted, but modern scientific, educational, journalistic and cultural undertakings have also been developing in an all-round way.
A historical leap has been achieved in education. In old Tibet, there was not a single school in the modern sense. Access to education was restricted to members of the aristocracy, the broad masses of laboring people were robbed of any opportunity for education. Since the peaceful liberation, the state has adopted vigorous measures to develop education in Tibet. Between 1952 and 2007, the state's investment in Tibet totaled 22.562 billion yuan, of which 13.989 billion yuan was invested from 2002 to 2007. In addition, various other provinces and municipalities also rendered energetic support to the development of education in Tibet in terms of manpower, materials and finance. So far, more than 7,000 teachers have been selected to aid Tibet in this respect. Since 1985, the state has adopted the measure to cover all tuition as well as food and boarding expenses for students in the stage of compulsory education from Tibet's agricultural and pastoral families. In 2007, the state again decided to exempt all primary and junior high school students of all tuition and other fees, thus making Tibet the first place in China to enjoy free compulsory education. In recent years, the state has increased its investment in improving school facilities and learning conditions, spending 1.85 billion yuan between 2000 and 2006 on new school buildings and their expansion, totaling 1.5 million sq m in floor space. From 2004 to 2007, 133 classrooms equipped with computers were built, in addition to 983 distance-education locations served by satellites and 1,763 educational resource systems. As a result, most of Tibet's primary and high schools possess hi-tech teaching facilities. Tibet has already formed a relatively comprehensive education system ranging from preschool education, nine-year compulsory education to secondary education, higher education, vocational education, distance education, correspondence education and special education.
The educational and cultural levels have been noticeably improved. Now in Tibet, there are 884 primary schools, 94 high schools and 1,237 teaching stations, with a total enrolment of 547,000. The illiteracy rate has fallen from more than 95 percent in old Tibet to the present 4.76 percent. The enrollment rate for school-age children has risen from 2 percent in old Tibet to the present 98.2 percent, and the enrollment rate for junior high schools has reached 90.97 percent, basically ensuring free nine-year compulsory education. At present, there are 14 senior high schools and nine schools with both junior and senior high school education, with the enrollment rate for senior high schools hitting 42.96 percent; seven secondary vocational schools, with students totaling 19,000 in 2007; and six colleges and universities, with students numbering 27,000 and an enrollment rate of 17.4 percent. There are 30,652 teachers in primary and high schools, colleges and universities, among whom teachers of the Tibetan or other ethnic minority groups account for more than 80 percent. Throughout the country, 33 schools have classes specially for Tibetan students, including 19 junior high schools, 12 senior high schools and two teacher-training schools. In addition, 53 key senior high schools in inland China enroll students from Tibet. By the end of June 2008, a total of 34,650 Tibetan students had been admitted to these schools, and at present the number of Tibetan students has reached 17,100. The higher education admission rate of these Tibetan classes in inland China has exceeded 90 percent. Meanwhile, over 90 inland colleges and universities have admitted students from Tibet, with a total of 5,200 students still studying, and 15,000 having already graduated. Large numbers of highly educated Tibetans, including some with Ph.Ds and MAs, as well as scientists and engineers, have become a major force in promoting Tibet's development.
Modern science and technology in Tibet started from scratch, and developed rapidly. The state has adopted a number of policies, laws and regulations, and invested a large amount of money to promote the development of science and technology in Tibet. At present, Tibet has 42 scientific research institutions, 56 academic groups of various kinds, 140 institutions at different levels popularizing agricultural and animal husbandry skills, 37 science and technology demonstration bases and locations, five key laboratories and three research centers of engineering technology. There are 42,525 professionals of various kinds, with Tibetans and people of other ethnic minorities accounting for 74.04 percent. From 2000 to 2007, Tibet completed 613 key scientific research projects, including 148 key national ones. Tibet has made remarkable achievements in science and technology, especially in the fields of cosmic rays observation, plateau atmosphere, deep geophysical exploration for the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, prevention of geological hazards such as mudslides, development and utility of clean energy including geothermal and solar energy, plateau medicine, etc. Certain achievements have taken the lead nationwide and even worldwide. By 2007, the rate of contribution from science and technology to Tibet's growth in the agricultural and pastoral sectors had reached 36 percent, with the farmers and herders being the greatest beneficiaries.
An unprecedented advance has been made in Tibetology research. In old Tibet, Tibetology research was confined mainly in the "greater five aspects of knowledge" (skill, medicine, philology, logic and religion) and the "lesser five aspects of knowledge" (poetry, rhetoric, rhythm, opera and calendar), focusing primarily on religion and serving the interests of the aristocrats and senior monks, an extremely small proportion of the Tibetan population. Nowadays, Tibetology has become an important discipline of China's social sciences and an important undertaking serving the country as well as the Tibetan people. There are now more than 50 Tibetology research institutions in the country, including the China Tibetology Research Center, with nearly 3,000 Tibetology experts and scholars. Tibetology is now a fairly complete research discipline in China and enjoys high reputation among the Tibetology circles throughout the world. China has compiled and published hundreds of Tibetology monographs, including A Comprehensive History of Tibet, A Historically Produced Unity, Historical Documents of Tubo Kept in Dunhuang, and Artistic Exchanges between Tibetans and Han Chinese in the Yuan Dynasty; edited and published over 400 Chinese-language collections of historical documents on Tibet, such as Old and New Tang Books - Historical Materials in Tibetan, The Ming-dynasty Records - Historical Materials in Tibetan, and The Qing-dynasty Records - Historical Materials in Tibetan, more than 70 collections of ancient Tibetan documents, including The Collected Works of Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen and The Collected Works of Tonpa Sherab, as well as more than 24,000 papers on Tibetology published in various newspapers and magazines.
The press and publishing industry in Tibet is flourishing. Old Tibet had no publishing houses in the modern sense, apart from a few workshops for printing Buddhist sutras using printing blocks. Now, Tibet has two publishing houses for books, and two for audio-visual products. Some 250 million volumes of over 11,300 titles, written in the Tibetan or Chinese language, have been published, including 3,000 Tibetan-language titles, of which 200 titles, such as Annotations of the Four Medical Tantras, A New Edition of Tibetan Medicine and Encyclopedia of Tibet, have won national awards. There has been a 20-percent annual increase in the production of Tibetan-language books for five consecutive years. Since its establishment in 1989, the Tibet Audio-Visual Publishing House has put out more than 100 audio-visual and electronic publications, including Tibet Today, Nangma and Thoeshey, Tibetan Light Music and The Ngari Area of Tibet, and distributed over 330,000 audio and visual products. There has been a 13-percent annual increase in the production of audio-visual products for five consecutive years. Currently, Tibet has 35 printing houses of various types, widely applying such new technologies as electronic typesetting, off-set lithography, electronic color separation and multi-color printing. A book distribution network has covered the entire region. In 2002-2007 alone, 10.08 million yuan had been invested in building or expanding 35 Xinhua Bookstores, bringing the total number of these shops to 67. There are now 272 distribution units that distribute more than 40 million books of over 200,000 titles every year. Moreover, the region has invested over 18 million yuan to build a new logistics distribution center, each day distributing 560,000 copies (discs) of books, newspapers, audio-visual and electronic publications of 50,000 titles.
Old Tibet had only one lithographically printed newspaper in the Tibetan language in the last years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), titled The Tibet Vernacular Newspaper, and its print-run was fewer than 100 copies a day. Now, Tibet has 57 openly distributed newspapers and periodicals - 23 newspapers and 34 periodicals. Each of Tibet's seven prefectures and cities has a Tibetan newspaper and Han Chinese newspaper. In 2007, Tibet published 55.50 million copies of newspapers and 2.67 million copies of periodicals, both boasting a double-digit growth for five years in a run. Magazines such as Tibetan Studies and Tibet Travels have won national magazine award nominations and key social science magazine awards.
No radio, film or TV industry existed in old Tibet. Over the 50-odd years since the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the central and regional finance together allocated 1.2 billion yuan for the development of Tibet's radio, film and TV industry. Relevant departments in the central government as well as other provinces have also rendered great support to Tibet in technology, personnel, materials and equipment, helping to train a large number of professionals for it. In 2007, Tibet had nine broadcast and radio stations, 39 medium-wave transmitting stations, 76 FM radio transmitting and relay stations of 100 watts or above, 80 TV transmitting stations of 50 watts or above, 76 cable TV transmitting stations above the county level, and 9,111 radio and TV stations at the township and village levels. All these have made radio and TV coverage rates in Tibet reach 87.8 percent and 88.9 percent, respectively, achieving the target of extending broadcast and TV coverage to each administrative village. Currently, the Tibet People's Radio Station provides four programs, broadcasting 79 hours and 55 minutes a day, while the Tibet TV Station operates three channels, airing programs 59 hours and 30 minutes a day. The Tibet Cable TV Network Transmission Center can receive and transmit 50 analog cable TV programs and 90 digital TV programs as well as 11 radio programs a day. Besides, all the prefectures (cities) and some counties have set up their own cable TV networks, marking the initial formation of a radio and TV network covering the whole region. In addition, there are 559 movie-projection agencies, 82 movie-projection management agencies, 472 projection teams and 7,918 projection locations in Tibet's farming and pastoral areas, covering 98 percent of the region's administrative villages, with each person watching 1.6 movies per month for the region's farmers and herders.
New media forms, such as the Internet and mobile phones, have quickly developed as a new force in terms of their popularization and applications. Tibet started its Internet construction in 1997, achieved broadband Internet access in 1999, and created its first website - "Window on Tibet" - in 2000. At the end of 2007, Tibet had 760 websites, 82,858 Internet subscribers and some 200,000 netizens, accounting for six percent of the total population of Tibet. Mobile phone services were launched in Tibet in August 1993, with a switchboard capacity for only 4,500 mobile subscribers, as well as only one base station. Now, Tibet has over 8,300 base stations and 800,000 mobile phone subscribers. New media have become major channels enabling the Tibetan people to keep up with current events, and have rapid access to information as well as leisure and amusement. These media have enriched the local people's spiritual and cultural lives and brought Tibet closer to the rest of the world.