Education Protests in Tibet


A graduate of Emory University’s sociology program, Maral Cavner has traveled to India and Washington, DC, as an intern for the International Campaign for Tibet. In this role, Maral Cavner was tasked with updating donors on events related to Tibet’s fight for freedom.


In early November of 2014, Tibetan elementary and middle school students held protests against government education policies. The protests, which took place in Dzoege (in Chinese, Ruo’ergai) county in the Ngaba prefecture, arose from a speech made by Tan Ke of the Ngaba Education Board. Ke told attendants that students who primarily speak Chinese, rather than Tibetan, achieve more on exams and college applications. He also urged school leaders in attendance to focus on delivering a Chinese education to students.

This announcement troubled the young students of Ngaba’s Tibetan Language Middle School, drawing support from peers in other schools as well as the general public. This continues the cycle of government insistence on Chinese education and the subsequent protests of Tibetan schoolchildren, who have publicly asserted their rights to native language education for the past several years. Now, students are also protesting a government directive to separate children by ability in the classroom, a decision that many feel will lead to elitism in instruction.