Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Kevin Pallister

Degree Award Date

Spring 5-2-2020


Ethnic minority, identity, Vietnam, development, education, literature, examination, textbook, curriculum, heritage, ethnic identity, national identity, inequality, structural inequality


Asian Studies | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Ethnic Studies | Indigenous Education | Language and Literacy Education | Politics and Social Change | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education | South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies


This essay studies the dynamic between ethnic minorities and majority in the Vietnamese education system. By examining the appearance and representation of ethnic minorities in national literature curriculum, textbooks, and examinations, the analysis reflects the government's perspectives regarding the “appropriate” portrait of ethnic minorities' heritage and relationship with the majority. The study finds that Vietnamese education framework and content comply with the national construct of a Vietnamese identity across ethnicities. The state determines educational materials and selectively permits only aesthetic, politically benign, and Kinh-like narratives of ethnic minorities’ cultures, many written and/or chosen by Kinh authority rather than the ethnic minorities in concern. As such, despite boasting ethnic equality in educational principles, this Literature education setup undermines distinctive cultural aspects of different ethnic minority groups and submerges them into a Vietnamese identity that resembles that of the Kinh majority, and inevitably reinforces the majority’s socio-cultural norms and privileges.

Force Open Access