Teaching Ethnic Language as a Subject in Primary School to Enhance Access to Education of Children of Ethnic Minority Groups: A Case Study of Teaching Kayin Language at Primary Schools in Thandaunggyi Township, Kayin State, Myanmar

Main Article Content

Ei Ei Mya San
Ei Phyo Aye
Suphatmet Yunyasit


This qualitative study gives an overview on the current state of Myanmar’s policy and implementation of the teaching of ethnic minority language as a subject in primary schools. It examines how ethnic language is taught under the new education policy launched in 2013, the benefits as well as the challenges faced by the schools in the implementation of such language policy. Two schools in Thandaunggyi township in Kayin state, where Kayin ethnic minority group forms a considerable portion of the town’s population, were selected as the research settings. The study employs formal, informal and in-depth interviews which were conducted on 15 informants in Thandaunggyi township in June 2020. Key finding of the research is that the state’s policy and implementation on teaching Kayin language at primary schools in Thandaunggyi has reduced language barriers for Kayin children, making them feel more comfortable attending the state-run schools. However, there is a weak linkage between having ethnic language classes and the increase in access to education among Kayin children. Teaching Kayin language at the state-run schools also promotes the preservation of Kayin children’s ethnic identity and the consolidation of their dual identity. The key challenges in teaching Kayin language as a subject at school lie in the lack of better-quality textbook and teaching guideline, inadequacy of teaching aids, and the possibility of teaching staff shortage. It is crucial for the state to provide continuing assistance and support to schools and to regularly assess the strengths and weaknesses of this implementation.

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How to Cite
San, E. E. M. ., Aye, E. P. ., & Yunyasit, S. (2021). Teaching Ethnic Language as a Subject in Primary School to Enhance Access to Education of Children of Ethnic Minority Groups:: A Case Study of Teaching Kayin Language at Primary Schools in Thandaunggyi Township, Kayin State, Myanmar. Journal of Human Rights and Peace Studies, 7(1), 97–122. Retrieved from https://so03.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/HRPS/article/view/252502
Research Articles
Author Biography

Ei Ei Mya San, Law Department of Yangon University of Distance Education

 Ei Ei Mya San is a lecturer from Law Department of Yangon University of Distance Education, Myanmar. Her research interest and expertise are human rights and development.


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