Schooling goes on in packed Lhasa classrooms after riot

Updated: 2008-03-19 21:00

LHASA  -- Meetings are scrapped, so are experiments. No naps either.

The forced changes, which began on Monday, have been made by the Lhasa No. 2 Middle School in Tibet with the purpose of trying to prevent students from skipping classes and suffering losses following the destruction of three campus buildings by rioting mobs last Friday.

Feng Xingjuan, the middle school deputy chief, said the change was temporary but necessary.

"In the wake of last Friday's unrest, we don't have enough classrooms. Thirty percent of our lab building was torched. Some of the indoor teaching devices, stationery, textbooks, desks and stools were also burned in the unrest."

"It is a bit crowded for students and teachers, but we have to make do at the moment and pull through."

According to Feng, with limited classrooms, different grades of students were incorporated to have classes together. For students whose textbooks were destroyed, they had to share with others.

The No. 2 Middle School, with 842 students and 16 classes, is in the vicinity of the Ramogia Monastery in downtown Lhasa, the capital of the autonomous region.

The serenity of the campus was broken last Friday around 12:30 p.m. when the school was pelted by stones. The backdrop included the endless sound of classroom windows breaking amid palls of smoke belching into the sky.

Jinzhoi, the school's deputy chief, was patrolling the campus when the unrest began to unfold.

"There was shouting from the street. I felt something bad was happening," recalled the Tibetan who goes by a single name. He immediately reported the unrest to principal Degyi Zhoigar.

The main gate of the school was ordered locked immediately. The students were told not to leave the campus when the morning class was over. Security guards were perched atop school buildings to get a good view of what was happening outside.

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