Establishment of Monastic Schools

     The Ecclesiastical Affairs department is one of the oldest and most important departments of the State. In Sikkim, lamas and pundits are the integral part of the society and their services are frequently required for day to day social functions such as marriage, death and birth rites. Gonchoe Labtha or Monastic School is a medium for providing basic education to the young monks to become eligible monks. Earlier, there was no system to provide an academic education to the probationer monks except imparting ritual courses after they have been taught for manual reading and writing. Consequence of which made them with poor literary knowledge. In keeping view of this, the Ecclesiastical Affairs Departmen,t encouraged these religious Institutions to open Monastic Schools for the probationer monks to study elementary courses of the academic education for five years.

     Official records reveal that, the first government aided Tibetan Teacher was appointed at Pemayangtse Monastery , west Sikkim, on 1.10.1958, on the behest of the Duchi of Pemayangtse during the then Monarchy Government. In fact, the monastic education system was started by Late Khachoed Tulku Dujom Dorjee who was then Head lama of the same Monastery.

    His system of education includes mainly the Kunzang Lamai Shal-lung a text deals with basic Teachings of moral ethics and practices. It was mainly imparted to Senior Monks of the monastery. Soon after a system was introduced to give an academic education to probationer novice monks. However, after 1975, under the ‘Democratic set up government’, the state government was pleased to recognize 16 more Monastic Schools with effect from the financial year 1986-87, under the administrative control of the department of Ecclesiastical Affairs. Following are the names of the first group of the government aided Monastic Schools in Sikkim, after Pemayangtse Monastery, west Sikkim:
Sl No Name of Monastic School District
1 Boomtar Monastic School South
2 Enchey Monastic School East
3 Rumtek Monastic School East
4 Phodong Monastic School North
5 Lachen Monastic School North
6 Hee Gyathang Monastic School North
7 Lingthem Monastic School North
8 Lachung Monastic School North
9 Ship Monastic School North
10 Partbing Sherpa Monastic School South
11 Ralang Monastic School South
12 Tashiding Monastic School West
13 Renock Monastic School East
14 Chungthang Monastic School North
15 Singchit Ngadak Monastic School North
16 Simick Monastic School East
     This system was further strengthened by introducing monastic schools in other major monasteries of Sikkim and the number of such monastic Schools reached 81 by the year 2005. Out of the above Monastic Schools, the funding of 50 monastic schools recognized within 1996 was patronized by Human Resource Development Department under grants in aid scheme, till the year 2004-2005. The remaining 31 monastic Schools were patronized by the Department of Ecclesiastical from its budget.

     With the recognition of these monastic Schools, the State government had committed to provide the facilities such as teachers salary, free text books, uniforms and outright grants for the construction hostel buildings. Initially, the teachers were paid with Rs. 1000/- per month as an honorarium salary. Later the rate of the honorarium salary was enhanced from Rs. 1000/- to Rs. 3000/- p.m. and also provided an annual contingent grant of Rs. 5000/- only to each School with effect from the financial year 2003-04. Again, the honorarium salaries were further revised Rs. 3000/- to Rs. 5000/ p.m. and revised the annual contingent grant from Rs. 5000/- to Rs 10,000/- only with effect from the 1st April 2005, considering on the state of the limited sources of income of the management of religious Institutions.

Again, in the financial year 2010 to 2011, the government further recognized 12 more Monastic Schools in following religious Institutions:
Sl NoName of MonasteryDistrict
1Assam Lingzey Gonpa East
2Guru Kubum GonpaEast
3Dikiling GonpaEast
4Amba Mamring GonpaEast
5Mon Rongong Mani LhakhangNorth
6Phamtam ManiLhakhangNorth
7Borong Gurung GonpaSouth
8Ben GonpaSouth
9Lower Parbing ManilhakhangSouth
10Maniram Peri ManilhakhangSouth
11Rayong Rimbha ManilhakhangSouth
12Yanggang Changchub Gurung GonpaSouth
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