Minorities, Languages, Education, and Assimilation in Southeast Asia

  • Peter SercombeEmail author


Southeast Asia (SEA) is a sub-region of Asia, comprising a mainland and a maritime region, with a population of, currently, just under 700 million. The focus of this chapter is language education policy in SEA and how this relates to indigenous minorities, an issue considered from a social justice perspective (cf. Piller, Linguistic diversity and social justice. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016). Indigenous minority groups of SEA mostly inhabit interior areas of the region removed from centres of power, but, despite their indigeneity, they are frequently materially poor and tend to be of relatively small size. In addition, they are generally distinctive from politically major groups in terms of social organisation (as they are often egalitarian), with an accompanying animistic belief system, rather than being socially hierarchical and subscribing to a major religion. The socioeconomic position of these minorities has tended to decline since nations of the region achieved independence, and reasons for this are explicated in this chapter, with specific reference to language education policy.


Education policy Southeast Asia Language education policy Indigenous minorities Assimilation 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ECLSNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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