Language Rights, Ethnic Identity, and Conflict in Myanmar: A Prospect for Multilingual Education to Bridge the Divided Society
This chapter aims to explore the current situation of language policy and education in Myanmar. Its intention is to analyze the theoretical perspectives found within ethnic conflict, as well as examine the potential for mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) to bridge multiple divides and promote social cohesion. Although the government recently adopted a law that guarantees the use of minority languages as a means of instruction in basic education, the situation has been reported as being far from the expectation of ethnic minorities. A Case from the Karen state is described as creating further mistrust and fear in the mind of the rural villagers. Finally, a prospect of MTB-MLE is discussed with a set of recommendation for bridging Myanmar’s divided society to shed new light on the importance of language in advancing a genuine, and sustainable, peace process in Myanmar.
KeywordsMultilingual education Ethnic identity Children Conflict Bridging divides
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