The main goal of Kunpan Cultural School is to educate Tibetan refugees in India, in order to improve their work perspectives once they are back in Tibet. Only a few of our students were able to attend school back in occupied Tibet. Their desire to receive education as well as to see His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama forced them to escape to India, risking their lives over the Himalayas.
In June 2010, the board members of E.S. Tibet had the privilege of meeting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at his residence in Dharamsala, North India. He acknowledged and appreciated the successful work that E.S. Tibet had been doing for the previous 10 years in terms of educating Tibetan refugees in India. Knowing that the school didn't have an official name at that time, he gave us the name 'Kunpan Cultural School'. Kunpan is a Tibetan word, meaning 'beneficial to all'.
The Tibetan Exile Government in Dharamsala had already established some educational support by setting up the Tibetan Transit School (T.T.S) in which newly arrived Tibetan refugees are educated for five years. E.S. Tibet sought to complement this existing educational establishment and therefore started Kunpan Cultural School in India, in which carefully selected T.T.S students are educated for a further two years in English, Computer Skills and Chinese. These three subjects were identified as key elements for professional success once the students are back in Tibet.
Every two years Kunpan Cultural School chooses about 20 new students who then live and study in the school. The school provides them with food, medical cover, accommodation and some pocket money every month, as well as meeting travel costs at the end of the course, so that they do not need to worry about such things while studying. The last time that Kunpan Cultural School advertised for the next group of 24 students to register (for 2009 – 2011), there were more than 82 applicants. Unfortunately, as the school is in a rented building and there are size limitations, the number of students that can currently be housed is just 24. In the future E.S. Tibet and Kunpan Cultural School aim to increase this number and to build a schoolhouse that can accommodate 40 Tibetan refugee students.
The curriculum of English in E.S. Tibet progresses from beginners' level English, using the Cambridge University English Tests, from Key English Test (KET), Preliminary English Test (PET), First Certificate in English (FCE) and CAE (Certificate of Advanced English). In the last the ten years, 69 students at Kunpan Cultural School have passed the KET, PET and FCE Exams. After finishing two years of education at Kunpan Cultural School most of the students want to go back to Tibet.
Knowing most of the students will be going back to Tibet, we also teach the students Chinese, which is essential for them to get a job back in
their native land. We are trying to reach at least a level which enables them to understand and speak everyday Chinese. The computing education we offer them is as follows; Computer Fundamentals, Microsoft Office Package 2003 and 2007, Web Design, Book Publishing, Adobe CS4 Complete, Player and Converter, Internet, Windows Installation, Hardware, Network Troubleshooting and Configuration.
80% of the students who have completed their studies at Kunpan Cultural School have returned to Tibet and all of them have found employment there. Three of them are self-employed, some are English teachers, some are tourist guides, some are translators in NGOs in Tibet and some are doing Further Education in China. One set up a school Labdrakhampa.free.fr and two others started their own travel agency.