Discourse on migrant education policy: Patterns of words and outcomes in Thailand
Keywords:decentralization, migrants, multicultural education, policy, Thailand
As a consequence of the importation of cheap labor from the neighboring countries of Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, and Lao PDR, many children from those countries currently reside in Thailand. The Thai government sometimes refers to having an "Education for All" (EFA) policy which includes these children. Yet it does not produce reliable statistical data for the proportion of these children enrolled in schools and their educational attainments. Scholars estimate the proportion in school as less than half. This paper investigates the nature of this gap between words and outcomes, through an analysis of a collection of high-level policy statements, and of findings in the literature on the educational conditions for migrant children. This covers both the public provision of education and official stances toward private and voluntary sector Migrant Learning Centers. The analysis crucially takes a critical view of the nature of policy, avoiding the fallacy that official statements form definitive, complete, or coherent expressions of the mind of the State. It finds that frag mentation here is associated with a persistent gap between the apparent thrust of many such statements and the actual outcomes. It warns against an assumption that adminis trative procedures can be made more efficient in a way that will close the gap.
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This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/