Education Council and Advisory Committee
And the office of Education Council
Establishment and Evolution
According to the Chapter 12.4 of the Basic Education Policy for Tibetans in Exile (BEP), a permanent body shall be established in order to monitor and oversee the educational affairs of the Tibetans in exile. Thus the cabinet (Kashag) formulated the Rules and Regulations of the Education Council and Advisory Committee (ECAC) in 2010. It was followed by the appointment of Mr Tashi Dhondup (Additional Secretary) as the Director of the office of Education Council on 28 February 2011 and other members were also appointed on 16 June 2011. After establishment of a separate office for the Education Council, thus began the official affairs of the Council on 28 August 2011. During the initial period, there were five administrative staff namely the Director, one Deputy Secretary, two Under Secretaries and one office superintendent.
Since the director and the staff of the newly established office of the Education Council were internally transferred from the DoE’s Traditional Education section, the works of the office of Education Council and the Traditional education section were merged together, hence their roles and responsibilities were classified on 5 August 2011. As per the directives, the educational affairs including the framing of the school curricula, textbooks, review of the curricula and textbooks being done by the Traditional Education section till then were re-assigned to the office of Education Council. The Publication section of the DoE was also integrated with the office of Education Council in October 2016. The responsibility of publishing Primary school’s textbooks which were earlier undertaken by the Educational Development and Resource Center (EDRC) of the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) were also handed over to the office of Education Council on 22 May 2014.
Until 2 August 2021, the office of Education Council had eleven staff including the director and two staff in the Administrative section, three staff in the Tibetan language section, four staff in the Translation section and one staff in the Publication section. Based on the nature of the works and affairs of the office, textbook editors under the Translation section have been incorporated with the Tibetan language section giving it a new name, Textbook section, and the remaining staff of the Translation section were merged to the Publication section. Thus the office of Education Council has three sections; Administrative, Textbook and Publication sections.
As per the article 4.3 of the code of ECAC, in order to have free, fair and smooth functioning of the education related policies and laws of the CTA, the ECAC with its own administrative office would be made autonomous under the DoE, as and when the facilities are gradually met.
Annual conferences of the Education Council and Advisory Committee
• First Annual conference held on 16 August 2012
• Second Annual conference held on 30 & 31 October 2013
• Third Annual conference held on 30 March 2015
• Fourth Annual conference held on 28 & 29 June 2016
• Fifth Annual conference held on 17 April 2017
• Sixth Annual conference held on 6 & 7 March 2018
• Seventh Annual conference held on 23 & 24 April 2019
• Eighth Annual conference held on 1 & 2 March 2021
The incumbent Chair and members of ECAC appointed by Kashag include Ven Geshe Lhakdor as the Chair, and Ms Changra Tharlam Dolma (former school principal), Mr Sonam Gyaltsen (Lecturer at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah) and Ven Lhakpa Tsering (Assistant Professor at Central Institute of Higher Studies, Sarnath) as members. The other six ex-officio members of ECAC include; Director of the office of Education Council, Head of the DoE’s Academic section, Education Director of the TCV, Education Officer of the Tibetan Homes Foundation (THF), Director of the Sambhota Tibetan Schools Society (STSS) and Education Officer of the Snow Lion Foundation (SLF).
Currently the office of Education Council has eleven staff including the Director with three sections. There are two staff along with the Director in the Administrative section, five staff in the Textbook section and three staff in the Publication section.
Successive Chairs and Directors of ECAC
Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, the former Kalon Tripa of the CTA had been appointed by Kashag (cabinet) as the Chair of the first and second ECAC on 9 April 2012 and 22 May 2014 respectively. Following his resignation from the post, Ven Geshe Lhakdor, Director of the Library of Tibetan works and Archives, was appointed by Kashag as the Chair for the remaining term of the second ECAC on 15 September 2015. He has been reappointed as the Chair of the third and fourth ECAC consecutively in 2017 and 2019.
On 28 February 2011, Mr Tashi Dhondup (Additional Secretary) was appointed by Kashag as the Director of the Office of Education Council. Following his resignation, Mr Tsering Samdup (Additional Secretary) was appointed by Kashag as the Director of the Office of Education Council on 22 January 2014. Upon his resignation, Mr Kunga Gyaltsen (Joint Secretary) was appointed by the DoE as the acting Director of the Office of Education Council on 26 March 2019, who was later appointed by Kashag as the Director of the Office of Education Council on 29 April 2019. Following his transfer to the Cabinet Secretariat, Mr Sonam Sangpo (Joint Secretary) was appointed by Kashag as the Director of the Office of Education Council on 24 October 2019. Following his Educational leave, on 6 April 2021, Ms Tenzin Pema (Joint Secretary) has been appointed as the Director of the Office of Education Council.
Roles and Responsibilities of the ECAC
1. To provide professional guidance and ideas to CTA on Education and Culture, specifically regarding the successful implementation, improvement and smooth functioning of the fundamental principles of the BEP.
2. To make plans and give advice to CTA regarding the improvement of the education and capacity building of the Tibetans in exile.
3. To offer action plan, review and recommendations to CTA on having proper implementation of the CTA’s school curricula in the Tibetan schools.
4. To set up either advisory committee or working committee, whichever required, on the educational affairs of the exile Tibetan schools, which will study, innovate, review and manage the educational projects.
5. To arrange and manage the affairs of Tibetan schools in exile like giving official recognition to the school, granting certificates and supervising educational affairs.
6. As per the necessity of the Tibetan schools in exile, the Council possesses complete responsibility and power to establish, maintain and manage every required programme to improve the quality of teachers by conducting training courses, educational inspection, sharing experiences, etc.
7. In order to enhance the quality and capacity of teachers, the Council will begin and implement a programme of giving teaching license to teachers at the end of every five years of their service to continue their teaching profession.
8. In order to facilitate the special needs of the school systems in filling up the vacant posts with enough qualified teachers in all the schools, the Council will conduct teachers’ training courses, and the Council will innovate standard monitoring tools and guidance for teachers, to inspect the quality of education and results in all the schools, and to decide the required number of teachers and periods, etc.
9. To enable and encourage people in the society who have the best moral character along with the best educational qualification to get recruited in teaching profession.
10. The Council will frame curricula and syllabus of every subject, edit and review textbooks, transcribe, translate and publish supplementary reading materials for teaching and learning.
11. The Council will innovate and implement certain conditions to manage the quality, capacity and character of teachers.
Important activities of the Office of Education Council
1. To organise the annual conference of the ECAC and to follow up its resolutions
As cited in the seventh article of the Rules and Regulations of the ECAC, at least one conference of the ECAC should be organised in a year. Eight conferences have been held since its inception in 2011, and the respective resolutions are being pursued and implemented.
2. To frame school curricula in accordance with the principles of the BEP
In accordance with the principles of the BEP, curricula for Pre-Primary school to Primary school (2008), Middle school (2011), Secondary school (2017) and Tibetan language and cultural schools (2019) had already been framed in the respective years, and the English language curriculum for classes IV to VIII has been revised in 2020. Currently, the Tibetan language curriculum of the Pre-Primary to Middle school is being revised.
3. To edit and publish textbooks in line with the school curricula
In accordance with the BEP and school curricula, the office of Education Council publishes school textbooks including Tibetan language, Mathematics, Science, Social Science, Natural Science, Buddhism and Dialectics, Dance and Music.
As of now, Tibetan language, Buddhism and Dialectics textbooks till class XII, Science textbook till class X, Mathematics textbook till class VIII, Social Science textbook till class VIII, and Natural Science textbook till class V are completed. Tibetan language textbook for Pre-Primary school which has been revised & edited by EDRC has been published recently.
The Middle school Tibetan language textbooks have been revised and published recently and currently class VI Social Science textbook is being revised. Similarly, the writing and translation of the class IX Mathematics textbook is under process. Based on the curriculum, new textbooks for the Tibetan language and Cultural schools are being edited.
4. Tibetan translation projects
Children’s storybooks and other education related books are translated and published in order to increase the reading materials for Tibetan students across diaspora. As of now, around 58 children’s storybooks have been translated and published under this project.
5. Projects towards the enhancement of the Students’ reading skill
Ten Phayul children’s magazines are published annually for Middle and Secondary school students, one Gangjong comics for Primary school students, and 2-3 compilations of the stories from Phayul children’s magazines along with one Ling-Gesar storybook. Ten additional storybooks were published in 2018 and 2019 under this project. In order to increase the number of reading materials, reprints of some selected good books are also carried out under this project.
Until now, Phayul children’s magazine has reached its 206th series and around 213 books including compilations, Gangjong and Ling-Gesar storybooks, Sontsa series and other 20 reading materials.
A new set of 40 book series towards the enhancement of the Tibetan children’s reading skill has been published recently.
6. Projects towards the Enhancement of the writing skill of Teachers and Students
In order to facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge amongst the educators, eleven editions of ‘Sherig’ magazine were published since 2001. Currently, the articles written by Tibetan teachers in Tibetan are being uploaded in the official site (www.bodyiglobjong.com) while the outstanding essays written by students in Tibetan language are compiled and published in Nyugsar. So far 25 editions of Nyugsar have been published.
7. Projects on Secular Ethics
For the last many years, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been strongly advocating towards the promotion of human values as one of His Commitments. The Office of Education Council felt it as one of the most important responsibilities in achieving the commitment in Tibetan schools and communities. Therefore, the Office of Education Council organises series of awareness programmes in Tibetan schools and settlements, workshops to teachers, publishes books, and updates the contents of the official website (www.secularethics.net)
8. Projects on Animations and Audiobooks
In order to introduce Tibetan language and culture to young Tibetan children, and to facilitate their listening and speaking skills in Tibetan language, the Office of Education Council has started to produce 2D and 3D animations and animated nursery rhymes for Tibetan children. Until now we have produced two 2D animations along with 12 dubbed animations, produced five 3D animations along with one dubbed animation, ten animated nursery rhymes, and 18 audiobooks.