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Nation state versus ethnicity: educating ethnic minorities in South-West China

This project investigates how educational interventions and reforms reach the schools for ethnic minorities in rural South-West China.

Funded by the Crafoord Foundation (2016-2019).

Global development initiatives such as Education for All in 1990 and the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 have directed attention to the educational rights of ethnic minorities. China has increasingly subscribed to these global initiatives, coining the policy of “unity in diversity”; “diversity” however is often defined in a top-down process, denying minorities the possibility to voice their own understandings of ethnicity or to choose their own paths into modernity.

The project investigates educational policies and practices regarding ethnic minority education in China by examining (1) how multiculturalism and education for ethnic minorities are framed in Chinese academia; (2) how these are integrated into Chinese teacher education, and classroom practices; and (3) which role information and communication technologies for education (ICT4E) play for educational initiatives and reform in ethnic minority regions.

Two ethnic minority regions have been chosen in consultation with The Center for Studies of Education and Psychology of Minorities in Southwest China in Chongqing: Xishuangbanna Prefecture in Yunnan Province, home to ethnic Dai; and Youyang County near Chongqing, home to ethnic Tujia.