Brief Background History:
Central School for Tibetans (in short, CST) Kalimpong was founded on the 17th of July 1964. It is one of the oldest Tibetan schools established by the Tibetan Government in Exile with the help of Government of India. This institution is a co-educational institution catering to the academic needs of young Tibetan children. It is a Senior Secondary school affiliated to CBSE with a total strength of 320 students as of this date. Of the 320 students, 218 are resident boarders and 102 are day school children.
Children in the hostel are from various Tibetan settlements located in India, Nepal and Bhutan. Most of the children in the hostel are from the state of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim (Both share border with Tibet). Students from Tibetan settlements in Tezu, Maio, Tenzingang, Tuting and Bomdila, all of which hail from the state of Arunachal Pradesh study here. This institution also has many students from Ravangla, Gangtok, Lachen, Lachung, Nathula, Sherathang of Sikkim. There are many children who have come from farthest corners of Nepal and Bhutan as well.
Besides these students, several students from nearby Darjeeling, Sonada, Mirik, Pokhriabong and this town of Kalimpong study here, too. Most of the day school children are local Indians. As per the Government of India’s instruction to CSTs all over the country, 10% of the total student strength is reserved for Indians. Preferences are given to children of Indian Army Personnel, Indian Government officials and BPL families. Bring an institution to cater the need of Tibetan students, it does not have any system of reservation for ST / SC/Minorities. Admissions in classes IX and XI to Indian students are given only if the child passes entrance examination conducted by the school. Entrance examinations are conducted only in three subjects viz. English, Science and Mathematics.
Student can study here up to Class XII. Science and Humanities are taught in Classes XI and XII. The stream of Commerce for senior students may be introduced in the coming years. The school has a total of 46 staff members including both Tibetans and Indians. Of the 46 staff members, 28 are teachers and 18 are non-teaching staff members. The school strives to provide not only modern education to the students but also inculcate in them the value of unique Traditional Tibetan language, culture and heritage.
The medium of instruction in the Primary classes is in Tibetan. English is taught as a second language. The English language becomes medium of instruction from class VI and above while the Tibetan and Himalayan students learn Tibetan as their second language. Hindi is introduced to Tibetan children as the third language in Class VI. Indian students may learn Hindi as their second language. Sanskrit is also one of the third language options; but because of non-availability of Sanskrit teachers, children can learn only Hindi.
Admission in hostel is strictly done following instruction from the Department of Education, Central Tibetan Administration (Tibetan Government in Exile), in short, CTA, Dharamsala. There is a separate form for hostel admission which can be downloaded from the websites www.sherig.org / www.tibet.net. Filled forms need to be sent to the Department of Education, CTA at least a month in advance. Admission for classes Montessori to IX is done in the month of February. Class XI admission is done in the month of June. Children from Himalayan region can get hostel admission provided they submit certificate from their respective Registered Associations / Boards.
Hostel facility is available only for Tibetan and Himalayan children. Children in hostel are provided free bedding, uniform, books and stationeries (Annually), daily necessities like toiletries, facewash and creams, shampoo and oil, washing bars and powders, tooth paste and brush, shoe polish and brush, etc. every month.
All the students are required to deposit Rs. 240 as School Development Fund (in short, SDF) per annum. Day school children do not pay any fee except for the SDF. Boarders whose family background is sound are charged 1138/- per month for food and other contingency expenditure. Destitute and BPL children are not required to pay any fee in this regard. Some children are required to pay only 40% of 1138/- if they cannot pay in full and have the recommendation of Tibetan Settlement Officer.
Locally, the school functions under the guidance and authority of Local Advisory Committee (LAC) which is usually headed by the District Magistrate or his nominee, the SDO as Chairman. The regional Tibetan Settlement Officer is the Vice Chairman while the Principal of the School serves as the Member Secretary. Other members include two representatives of Parent Teachers Association, two senior PGTs of the school, one local eminent educationist and sometimes the school doctor.
The School Land and Building:
The building where the school is housed was once a “White Wool Godown (Store) back in the 1940s through 50s and until 1964. Construction of the building was completed in 1945, two years before India became an independent nation. White wool from Tibet was in great demand in the West. The school acquired this building on rent from the 17 of July, 1964. This is a three storied building.In 1996, the entire property including the building and the land measuring about 5 Acres was purchased by the Central Tibetan Schools Administration, an Autonomous body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India, for proper establishment of school.
At present the main school building houses all the Classrooms (Montessori to XII Standard), Labs (Computer, Language, MLL, and Science etc), all Hostel Dormitories (Junior’s, Senior Boys and Senior Girls), Music & Dance Classroom cum equipment store) Library, Exam Cell, Resource Room, School Kitchen, Matron’s Quarter, Prayer Hall, Dining Hall, Art and Craft block, Tailoring Section, Garage, Storage rooms besides Quarters for the Rector and the Principal. The school also has three separate buildings that are used as staff quarters. Cook’s quarters and a tuck shop are constructed near the main building. The school dispensary and nurse’s quarter is located separately near the hostels. Two guards appointed by the government oversee safety and security of staff and children.