The Future of Karen Education after Repatriation: (A Burmese Ethnic Minority’s Hope for Education after Repatriation)


This paper explores the possible future of education for one of Burma’s largest ethnic minorities, the Karen. The Karen have been struggling against Burma’s ruling military junta for years. This struggle has caused great disruption to all facets of Karen life and culture, and has resulted in a significant portion of the population living in refugee camps and/or as displaced persons within their own country. And although there is no end in sight to the current situation, the Karen have made it clear that their ultimate goal is to return to their homeland.

Having been involved in educational work in the largest refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border for the last three years, I found myself working to establish sustainable educational programs without knowing specifically what the Karen’s hope is for the future. This led me to ask, “What are the Karen’s hopes for an eventual education system in Karen State after repatriation?” To shed light on this question, a series of informal oral interviews were conducted with educational leaders, educators working on both sides of the border, and a variety of other people within the Karen community. From these interviews, along with relevant literature and first-hand experience, I attempt to give an overview of the current educational situation and explore how it, together with future hopes, might influence the eventual future of Karen education after repatriation.


International and Comparative Education | Sociology of Culture

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