Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

John Ungerleider


Mae La refugee camp on the Thai/Burma border is the largest of the seven “Karen” refugee camps in the area and is considered the center of education for refugees. Continued fighting inside Burma between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the ethnic armies as well as the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis in 2008 have greatly altered the demographics in Mae La refugee camp. Perceptions of Access to Education: Inclusion and Exclusion for Non-Karen Refugees in Mae La Camp attempts to understand, through qualitative data, how non-Karen speaking refugees perceive their access to education. Is education in Mae La inclusive or exclusive? Through a series of in-depth interviews with ethnically mixed, non-Karen, refugee students, it is discovered that non-Karen speaking refugees find education in Mae La both exclusive and inclusive. Inclusive in the sense that they can access education and enroll in school; however, it is exclusive in the sense that the language of instruction and curriculum is not appropriate culturally or linguistically. The language barrier causes segregation among ethnic groups and feelings of ill will towards each other.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | International and Comparative Education | Race and Ethnicity


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