Creating equity for ethnically, linguistically, and religiously diverse students in school settings in the Myanmar public schools

Z Ja Htu Aung, Melissa M. Barnes, Sun Yee Yip, Eisuke Saito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In Myanmar, large diverse indigenous ethnicities exist, and, as a result, public schools consist of a multicultural and multilingual student population. Despite this, the education system proffers and embeds Myanmar’s dominant ideologies relating to culture, language and religion within all aspects of schooling. Students from minority backgrounds often struggle to gain legitimacy and build capital in a system that does not acknowledge diversity. Drawing upon Bourdieu’s concepts of social reproduction, field and capital, this study examines how multiculturalism and multilingualism are positioned within Myanmar’s education policies and how Myanmar’s school leaders and teachers reflect and respond to the needs of students from minority backgrounds within the complex political and educational setting. This qualitative case study captured the perspectives of five participants: two school leaders and three teachers. The findings reveal that students from minority backgrounds experience religious-based inequalities, cultural exclusion, and indifference towards their language backgrounds in public school settings.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalPedagogy Culture and Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Multicultural education
  • diversity
  • equity
  • social justice
  • diverse students

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