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Ethnicity and the Language Used as a Medium of Instruction in Schools

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This paper is based mainly on personal experiences in two very different areas. Between 1954 and 1956 I was employed as a teacher in Manipur State in India. I taught for one academic year at the Somdal Ningkhalen High School near Ukhrul in the Tangkhul Naga area and for three months at the Zeliangroung High School at Tamenglong. I was expelled from there in March 1956. Ten years later I spent ten months in field-work in Cambodia, mainly at Prek Por in Kompong Cham Province. And in 1972 I spent six months in two villages in Surin Province in Thailand. As I was not studying language policy or ethnicity this account will necessarily be sketchy and tentative. What interests me is the difference between the policies in India and in Southeast Asia; while all these states are trying hard to encourage the use of a national language, their emphasis and their policies towards ethnic minorities vary.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, University of Durham


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