Just launched: Research partnership on lifelong learning for ethnic minorities


© Mahidol University
9 August 2018

The UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED) and UIL have launched a research project on basic and non-formal education for ethnic minority groups living in communities along the Mekong River. The launch took place at the International Seminar on Education for Rural Community, in Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic, in August 2018.

The Greater Mekong Sub-region, an international region of the Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia in which ethnic minority groups live across country borders, is characterized by its cultural and linguistic diversity and richness. While there is growing respect and appreciation for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices in the sub-region, some ethnic minority groups have lost touch with their traditions. In many cases, they also live in deprived communities (poverty-stricken or remote mountainous areas) and face disadvantage in accessing basic public services such as education and health.

The research will focus on government policies and innovative practices in providing basic formal and non-formal education for ethnic minority groups in countries along the Mekong River, namely Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. The findings will be published in 2019, to coincide with the International Year of Indigenous Languages. They will serve as the basis for a series of recommendations on how to improve policies and approaches to promote cultural diversity and to support indigenous knowledge and its transmission.

A number of partners have agreed to support this important research, including the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) and its Regional Centre for Community Education Development (SEAMEO CED in Lao PDR), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Cambodia, Yunnan Normal University (China) and Mahidol University (Thailand), as well as DVV International, and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok.