The development of minority education and the practice of bilingual education in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Rong, M. A. (2009). The development of minority education and the practice of bilingual education in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Frontiers of Education in China4(2), 188-251. Link

Abstract:

The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is an area of great importance for the ethnic minorities of northwestern China, and the development of local minority education has been a constant concern in both government and academic spheres. By means of analyzing government documents, statistical data and research literature, this article attempts to define the fundamental modes and development processes of minority education in Xinjiang. Furthermore, the article elaborates on discussion of the development and problems relevant to bilingual education in the concentrated Uyghur communities of southern Xinjiang based on the author’s field research in the Kashgar Prefecture in 2007.

 

I think this paper is saying that bilingual education is necessary – Uyghurs should learn Mandarin and English, and Han living in the southern regions should learn Uyghur – so everyone can become educated, learn to communicate, and advance as a society. It also states that the government should provide schooling in the language the student wants to learn in, and says the Chinese government allows minorities to learn and speak their native languages. This was written in 2009, so considering how “bilingual” education is slowly becoming a monolingual, Mandarin education (with the exception of having Uyghur language classes in Uyghur) this was probably an overly optimistic view from eight years ago. Oh well.

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