ABSTRACT

Although Tibetans occupy a prominent position in the "family" of China's nationalities, surprisingly little Western scholarly attention has been paid to the history of their recent development under the political regime of the People's Republic of China (PRC). This is largely due to the fact that Tibetan Studies as a discipline in Western countries remains strongly tied to its historical roots in philology and Buddhist studies, a situation which has undoubtedly been compounded by the relative lack of access scholars have had to Tibetan areas during recent decades.2 One area of scholarship that has thus been sorely neglected until very recently by Western scholars is research on the education of Tibetans in the PRC in the modern era, particularly secular (i.e., nonmonastic) education. Although the educational sector represents a prominent point of intersection between the Chinese state and Tibetan society, to date we know very little about how educational policies have been implemented at the local level, and even less about the effects of those policies and modern teaching methods on the development of Tibetan culture and society within the PRC.