Comparative Perspectives on the Education of Cultural Minorities

  • Margaret B. Sutherland


Education is traditionally held to be a process by which the social heritage is transmitted: a society passes on by formal teaching those aspects of its knowledge, skills, way of life which it wishes to perpetuate. The main problems in the education of cultural minorities arise when the transmission of these elements by a minority appears to conflict with the transmission of the skills and values of the major social group; or when the minority lacks the resources to provide formal education for its children and needs help from the majority. The problems are acute when the dominant group regards education in patriotism or its own ideology as essential; in such cases, the transmission of other values or loyalties by the majority appears as a threat. But reasons of expediency may also lead a dominant social group to disregard the wishes of a minority group and impose a common education. For example, there is greater administrative simplicity if all schools employ the same language of instruction, follow the same curriculum, use the same textbooks. The recruitment and education of teachers are also simplified in such conditions. Children can be gathered in common schools of reasonable size rather than in what are—from the economic point of view—excessively small units.


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© Margaret B. Sutherland 1979

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  • Margaret B. Sutherland

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