Full Text: Sixty Years Since Peaceful Liberation of Tibet

3. Tibetan society has progressed in an all-round way, with all social undertakings flourishing.

In old Tibet there was not a single school in the modern sense. Education was monopolized by monasteries, and there were only a limited number of schools run by monks and officials. Almost all students in such schools were children of the nobility. The masses of serfs and slaves had been robbed off the right of receiving education. The enrollment rate for school-age children was less than 2 percent, while the illiteracy rate was as high as 95 percent among the young and the middle-aged, to say nothing of ignorance of modern science and technology. From 1951 to 2010 the central government invested 40.73 billion yuan to give a boost to Tibet's education. Now, Tibet has basically established an educational system with special local flavor and minority ethnic characteristics, which includes pre-school, primary and middle schools, secondary vocational and technical schools, institutions of higher learning, and adult and special education institutions. In 2010 Tibet had six institutions of higher learning, 122 junior and senior high schools, and 872 primary schools. The total enrollment was over 500,000. More than 20,000 Tibetan students are studying in Tibetan classes in schools of the hinterland. In 12 hinterland provinces and municipalities of China, 42 secondary vocational schools have classes for Tibetan students. Now the enrollment rate for primary school-age children of the Tibetan ethnic group has reached 99.2 percent; that for junior high school, 98.2 percent; that for senior high school, 60.1 percent; and that for institutions of higher learning, 23.4 percent. The illiteracy rate among the young and the middle-aged has fallen to 1.2 percent. The average educational period of people above 15 years old in Tibet has reached 7.3 years. The children enjoy "three guarantees" for compulsory education, i.e., the state guarantees all tuition as well as food and lodging expenses for students from Tibet's farming, pastoral or impoverished urban families from the pre-school period all the way to the senior high school period. Subsidies for each student in this regard have reached 2,000 yuan per year.

Science and technology in Tibet started from scratch and is growing rapidly. In 2010 Tibet had 34 independent scientific research institutes at various levels, nine private research centers, 140 organizations at various levels for popularizing science and technology in the fields of agriculture and animal husbandry, and 52,107 professional technical personnel who have completed 3,253 key scientific and technological programs at the autonomous region and state levels. The scientific and technological content of economic development has increased markedly. The rate of contribution made by science and technology to overall economic growth has reached 33 percent, and that to the growth of agriculture and animal husbandry, 40 percent.

Tibet's medical services are also constantly improving. Before the peaceful liberation, there were only three small, shabby government-run institutions of Tibetan medicine and a small number of private clinics, with less than 100 medical workers altogether. By the end of 2010 there were 1,352 medical institutions of all types and at all levels in Tibet, with 8,838 hospital beds and 9,983 medical workers. A healthcare system in farming and pastoral areas has been established, with funds from the government comprising the major part, backed up by family accounts, and comprehensive arrangements for serious diseases and medical relief. A medical and healthcare network covering all counties and townships, with Lhasa as the center, has taken shape. Now, all townships in Tibet have health centers and all villages have clinics. Thanks to improvement in medical services, the Tibetan people's health level has been raised. The death rate of women in childbirth has dropped from 5,000 per 100,000 to 174.78 per 100,000, and the infant mortality rate from 430 per thousand before the peaceful liberation to 20.69 per thousand. The average life expectancy has increased from 35.5 to 67 years. According to the sixth national census, the total population of Tibet increased from one million before the peaceful liberation to more than three million, of whom 2.7164 million or 90.48 percent were Tibetans.

Tibet has established a social security system mainly covering basic pension insurance, basic medical insurance, unemployment insurance for urban workers, industrial accident insurance and maternity insurance, which cover all urban and rural residents. From November 2009, with the initiation of the New Rural Pension Social Insurance, to the end of 2010, 73 counties (cities and districts) were made pilot areas to try out the policy, granting accumulatively 76.3155 million yuan of basic pension insurance payments to residents over 60 years old in farming and pastoral areas. Pensions received by enterprise retirees reached 2,439 yuan per month per person, higher than the national average. The inpatient reimbursement rate for urban residents covered by the medical insurance policy reached 75.1 percent. The highest reimbursement of medical expenses in 2010 was 130,000 yuan, 8.7 times the per-capita disposable income of 14,980 yuan of urban dwellers in Tibet. The number of Tibetan people underwriting policies of social insurance stood at 1.6623 million, and 1.732 billion yuan of various social insurances have been collected. Meanwhile, there were 527,100 employees in the urban areas, and the registered urban unemployment rate was 3.81%.

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