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A teacher's dedication to Tibet's special education

(China Tibet Online)

Updated: 2015-08-10 14:20:10

A teacher's dedication to Tibet's special education

Kelsang Drolka teaches at a class. [Photo by Pei Cong and Kalsang Lhundup/Provided to]

Sixteen years ago, 18 year-old Kelsang Drolkar became one of the first special education teachers in Tibet autonomous region. From green hand to veteran, Kelsang Drolkar witnessed a continuously developing progress in Tibet's special education from scratch.

In 1980, Kelsang Drolkar was born in Lhasa’s Nyemo County. She dreamed of becoming a teacher when she was a child.

"Just a year before I graduated from university our teacher told us about a special opportunity-the construction of Lhasa’s special education program and its teachers should accept a year of training in Beijing. Upon graduation and completion of training you would become a special education teacher. I was very curious about the program. At that time, six other students and I signed up for training," Kelsang Drolkar said.

In Beijing during the first period of training, Kelsang Drolkar and her classmates went to a special education school to observe teaching methods. In the classroom the teacher simultaneously pronounced words loudly and used sign language to skillfully communicate with students.

Watching this, Kelsang Drolkar was mind-blown. "There is no special education school but many exceptional children in Tibet. What type of unfortunate situation were those children in?" Pondering these thoughts, she firmly resolved to become a special needs teacher.

At the end of 1999, Lhasa officially established a special education school. At that time there was still no experience in education, no location for learning, no means of transportation, and no students at the school.

After graduating, the seven teachers returned to Lhasa. Through government coordination and help, the teachers borrowed a classroom from the Seventh Middle School of Lhasa.

Now having classrooms, the teachers began to bike around Lhasa everyday looking for potential students. At that time people did not know much about special education.

In the very beginning, only seven families agreed to send their children to study at the school. But, this already made those special education teachers very happy. They could finally teach their first pupils.

At first, much of the curricula and teaching methods were still in the exploratory stage. These children had initially lived in silence and darkness.

After continuous training, students gradually learned methods of voicing and lip-reading that could be used to engage in simple dialogue with common people; blind students could also learn to know the world through Braille……

Word of mouth about this education began to spread through the parents of the students. Subsequently, the number of students began to increase. With this increase, the special education school was relocated to Chengguan District. Here the school had specialized classrooms, a cafeteria, and dormitory buildings.

"Despite the process was very difficult, seeing our student’s progress made us very happy. Today, the number of students has jumped from seven in the beginning to 200 currently. Instead of seven teachers we now have 60. Four students here were admitted to university and after their graduation this year, they take part in the civil service examination and embark on a new life," Kelsang Drolkar said.

"In the future, students will have a better learning and living environment where they can grow up happy and healthy," she said smilingly.

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