Impact of China’s Boarding Schools on Tibetan Language and Culture

China’s educational reforms in Tibetan areas, particularly the expansion of boarding schools and the replacement of Tibetan with Mandarin Chinese as the main language of tuition, have raised concerns about the impact on Tibetan language and culture. Many activists and experts believe that these reforms are aimed at undermining Tibetan identity and social capacity, with the younger generation at the forefront of this cultural erasure. Critics argue that the boarding school system creates psychological trauma for children who are separated from their families and are pressured to assimilate to Chinese culture. The transition from Tibetan to Chinese as the main language of instruction has also been met with criticism, as it undermines the rich oral and written tradition of the Tibetan language, which dates back over a thousand years. International human rights experts have raised concerns about the right of parents to choose the language of their children’s education, emphasizing that a few hours of Tibetan language instruction is not sufficient to preserve the language and culture. Despite China’s propaganda efforts to portray these reforms as beneficial, activists like Gyal Lo continue to speak out against the erosion of Tibetan language and culture, even in the face of intimidation and discreditation by Chinese authorities. The future of Tibetan language and culture, as well as the well-being of Tibetan youth, remains uncertain as China’s education policies in Tibet come under scrutiny.