Ethnic Content Integration and Local Curriculum in Myanmar
Keywords:Ethnic Content Integration, Local Curriculum, Multicultural Education, Multiculturalism, Myanmar
Myanmar is home to over 54.8 million people, consisting of over 100 ethnolinguistic groups with distinct linguistic, cultural, and historical backgrounds. Since Myanmar gained independence from Great Britain, education has been used as the main political tool for Bamar national assimilation, neglecting this rich ethnic and cultural diversity. Myanmar opted for the assimilationist approach in which non-dominant ethnolinguistic nationalities are vanquished through the use of educational instruction, materials, and teachers’ education, all of which are ‘Bamarcentric’, centered around a single ethnolinguistic identity and language in Myanmar, Bamar. Other, non-dominant ethnolinguistic groups in Myanmar have long desired to incorporate their own languages, cultures, and histories into the educational system. In this vein, the National Education Law (NEL), which took effect in 2014, provides the integration of non-dominant ethnic languages and cultural identities into the mainstream curriculum. From this, a modified curriculum framework concerning the integration of indigenous ethnic content was produced in order to promote multicultural coexistence. The present study explores the implementation of the Local Curriculum and integration of non-dominant ethnic content into the curriculum in primary schools through the analysis of the curriculum development process and the integration of non-dominant ethnic content such as local literature, cultural perspectives, and indigenous worldviews. The study was conducted in Kachin, Kayah, Karen, and Mon states and the Yangon region, where a variety of ethnolinguistic groups reside. Using a qualitative approach, the study drew on findings from interviews with 63 participants, four classroom observations, and document analysis from four states and one region. The study revealed that the implementation of the Local Curriculum promotes multiculturalism and social cohesion.
Acaps. (2021, April 29). Myanmar, impact of 1 February coup: Briefing note. https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/20210429_acaps_briefing_note_myanmar_impact_of_1_february_coup.pdf
Banks, J. A. (1989). Approaches to multicultural curriculum reform. Trotter Review, 3(3). http://scholarworks.umb.edu/trotter_review/vol3/iss3/5
Banks, J. A. (2006). Race, culture, and education. The selected works of James A. Banks (1 ed.). Routledge.
Banks, J. A. (2008). An introducation to multicultural education. Pearson Education.
Banks, J. A. (2010). Approaches to multicultural curriculum reform. In J. A. Banks, Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives (7th ed., pp. 242-264). John Wiley & Sons.
Banks, J. A., & Banks, C. A. M. (2007). Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (6th ed.). Wiley.
Bishop, R. (1997). Selecting literature for a multicultural curriculum. In V. J. Harris (Ed.), Using multiethnic literature in the K-8 classroom (pp. 1-19). Christopher- Gordon.
Carmichael, S., & Hamilton, C. V. (1967). Black power. The politics of liberation in America. Vintage Books.
Clarke, S. L., Myint, S. A., & Siwa, Z. Y. (2019). Re-examining ethnic identity in Myanmar. https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Ethnic-Identity-in-Myanmar.pdf
Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2017). Thematic analysis. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 12(3), 297-298.
Dun, S. (1980). Memoirs of the four-foot colonel. American civilization. Cornell University Press.
Freire, P. (1998). Teachers as cultural workers. Letters to those who dare teacher. Westview Press.
Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching. Theory, research, and practice. Teachers College Press.
Glazer, N. (1974). Ethnicity and the schools. Commentary. https://www.commentary.org/articles/nathanglazer-2/ethnicity-and-the-schools/
Gorski, P. C. (2009). What we’re teaching teachers: An analysis of multicultural teacher education courses syllabi. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(2), 309-318.
Hopkins-Gillispie, D. (2011). Curriculum & schooling: Multiculturalism, critical multiculturalism and critical pedagogy. The South Shore Journal, p. 4.
Human Rights Council. (2021). Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session46/Documents/A_HRC_46_56.pdf
Jackson, P. (1992). Handbook of research on curriculum. A project of the American Research Association. Macmillan Publishing Company.
Jaramillo, M.-L. (1977). Cultural pluralism: Implications for curriculum. In M. M. Tumin & W. Plotch (Eds.), Pluralism in a Democratic Society. Praeger Publishers.
Jenks, C., Lee, J., & Kanpol, B. (2001). Approaches to multicultural education in preservice teacher education: Philosophical frameworks and models for teaching. Urban Review, 33(2), 87-105.
Jordt, I., Than, T., & Lin, S. Y. (2021). How generation Z galvanized a revolutionary movement against Myanmar’s 2021 military coup. ISEAS Publishing.
Karen Human Rights Group. (2021, March). Dooplaya district situation update: Civil disobedience movement, military activity and anti-coup protests. https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/21-97-s1_wb_0.pdf
Lilly, D. (2021, June). The UN’s response to the human rights crisis after the coup in Myanmar: Destined to fail? International Peace Institute. Retrieved 13 December 2021 from https://www.ipinst.org/2021/06/un-response-to-human-rights-crisis-after-coup-in-myanmar
Lo Bianco, J. (2016). Building a national language policy for Myanmar: A progress report. http://www.themimu.info/sites/themimu.info/files/documents/report_brief_progress_report_-_building_a_national_language_policy_for_Myanmar.pdf
Lwin, T. (2002). Issues surrounding curriculum development in the ethnic minority areas of Burma. Paper presented at the Burma Studies Conference, 21-25 September, 2002, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Lwin, T. (2011). Language, identity and education in relation to Burma/Myanmar. http://www.thinkingclassroom.org/uploads/4/3/9/0/43900311/9._lwin_t._2011__language_article_english_15thoct2011.pdf
McLaren, P. (2003). Life in schools: An introduction to critical pedagogy in the foundations of education (4th ed). Allyn and Bacon.
Ministry of Education. (2014). The National Education Law. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
Ministry of Education. (2015). The National Education Curriculum Framework (6th ed.). The Ministry of Education.
Ministry of Education. (2016). The National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) 2016-21. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
Myint-U, T. (2004). The making of modern Burma. Cambridge University.
Myint-U, T. (2006). The river of lost footsteps: History of Burma. Farrar Straus Giroux.
Novak, M. (1975). Cultural pluralism for individuals: A social vision. The Journal of Afro-American Issues, 3, 77-90.
Sakhong, L. H. (2012). The dynamics of sixty years of ethnic armed conflict in Burma. Analysis Paper No.1. Burma Centre for Ethnic Studies. https://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/BCES-AP-01-dynamics(en).pdf
Salem-Gervais, N., & Lian, S. V. (2020, October 30). How many Chin languages should be taught in government schools? Ongoing developments and structural challenges of language-in-education policy in Chin State. Parami Journal of Education, 1(1), 122-140.
Taylor, C. (2011). The politics of recognition. In G. B. Vertovec, Multiculturalism (pp. 93-124). Routledge.
Tilaar, H. A. (2004). Multikulturalisme: Tantangan-tantangan global masa depan dalam transformasi pendidikan nasional. Jurnal Pendidikan Agama Islam, 4(1), 45-67.
Tin, H. (2008). Myanmar education: Challenges, prospects and options. In M. Skidmore & T. Wilson (Eds.), Dictatorship, disorder and decline in Myanmar (pp. 113-126). ANU E Press.
Torre, W. D. (1996). Multiculturalism: A redefinition of citizenship and community. Urban Education, 31(3), 314-345.
Vernon-Dotson, L. J., & Floyd, L. O. (2012). Building leadership capacity via school partnerships and teacher teams. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 85(1), 38-49.
Wallace, J., & Fleit, J. (2005). Change dilemmas for curriculum leaders: Dealing with mandated change in school. Australia, 20(3), 188-213.
Williams, D. C., & Sakhong, L. H. (2005). Designing federalism in Burma. UNLD Press.
Williams, R. L. (1975). Moderator variables as bias in testing black children. The Journal of Afro-American Issues, 3, 77-90.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Society for South-East Asian Studies (SEAS)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Articles published in ASEAS before December 2019 are licensed under the following Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported. Articles published after that date are licensed under the following Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International. Authors do NOT have to pay APC (Article Processing Charge) in order for their article to be published open access under the above mentioned license.