Teachers from developed regions to change education in 20 Tibetan schools

Some 700 teachers from China's developed regions have been despatched to 20 schools in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region for a three-year program to improve the quality of education in the region.

The first group of 76 teachers have arrived in Tibet, ready to take up positions in the regional capital of Lhasa, and in more remote areas such as Xigaze, Nyingchi, Shannan and Qamdo.

Sponsored by the ministries of education, finance, human resources and social security, the program will improve education in Tibet, which is dependent on both central and regional government funding to ensure education for farmers and herdsmen.

Fang Lingmin, vice chairman of the regional government, said that the teachers from 17 municipalities and provinces including Beijing and Jiangsu Province, will be divided into 20 groups to assist teaching in the schools.

Under the program, 400 teachers will also be selected from Tibetan kindergartens and schools every year to receive training and hands-on experiences in schools in developed regions.

The central government has carried out various programs to support Tibet's development. Under the assistance mechanism, teachers from developed areas are encouraged to take a short contract at Tibetan schools to help improve the local education.

The new initiative, however, aims to concentrate the efforts in the 20 designated schools to make real changes.

Tibet has 1,855 schools and more than 600,000 students. The region was the first in China to offer a 15-year free education for all children from kindergarten to high school, which has helped increase the enrollment rate of primary, junior high and high schools to 98 percent, 96 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

However, schools in remote areas still lack basic infrastructure to ensure stable power supply and even access to clean drinking water.

China has taken a variety of measures to ensure Tibetan students' schooling. Some have been offered the chance to study at high schools in eastern cities since 1985. The efforts have helped train a large number of professionals for the underdeveloped plateau region and boost Tibet's development.

Currently, 21 Chinese provinces and cities have offered classes for students from Tibet.