number of opinions on teaching ethnic minority language and the
pilot project on teaching thai language in Son La province
Speech by Bui Thi Ngoc Diep and Dao Nam Son - Research Center for Ethnic
Minority Education at the HEDO Seminar on 28th March
the past year, the ethnic minority language weren’t taught in
the school. There are a lot of reasons and one of those is many
ethnic language have not their own scripts.
script is not only the symbol of a language but also the culture,
the spirit of the people. In some Ethnic Minority people, for
example: Thai, Cham, Kho Me who have an old traditional culture,
their old scripts have reserved and stored until now.
Teaching Ethnic Minority language is meaning teaching their culture.
The cultural language taught in school has to standardize and
has to serve for the communication on all field of the life of
the people and the community. It has an important role to take
shape and develop the way of thinking, the psychology and the
spirit of the people.
cultural-language is reserved and stored in the literature works.
The Thai people has “Xong chu xon xao” (long poem), “Tanchu Xiet
xuong” (long poem). The H’mong has “Tieng hat lam dau”, the Tay-Nung
has “Kham Hai”. The E De has “Dam San”. The Grai has “Xinh Nha”
... It is very regret that in the years recent, the Ethnic Writers
don’t write their works by their native language but by Vietnamese.
Therefore, the Ethnic Languages of the minority peoples have not
the conditions to develop the Cultural Language.
In the common sense, the Ethnic languages taught in the school are
hunted because they are not standardized as a cultural language,
a symbol of the ethnic tradition and culture. The ethnic pupils
are suffered a loss for this situation.
As we know the experimental Project on “Research a new method of teaching
for the Thai pupils of the Primary School in Son La province,
use Thai language as the first language has been implemented since
1996. This pilot project is promoted by HEDO and sponsored by
the Toyota Foundation.
We consider that this is a great contribution to the development the
Ethnic Minority Education. It also meets the sincere wish of the
The project’s implementation includes two stages. In the 2 years of
the 1st stage, Thai language is taught as the 1st
language for the pupils of grade 1, grade 2 and grade 3 of Primary
School. In the 2 years of 2nd stage, the Thai language
is taught as a subject.
The scientists assume that learning by native language is the best
way for the pupils to gain the knowledge on nature and Society.
They hope that this project will prove their ideas, which will
be a great contribution to the methodology of teaching the ethnic
language for the pupils.
We know that HEDO in cooperation with Son La Education and Training
Department operated this project carefully in accordance with
a pilot process to research the theory, to investigate the reality,
to set up the idea, to consult many languages. Scientists, to
develop the curriculum and the text-books, to train the teachers
and to evaluate the project’s implementation every semester and
every school year.
The project will be concluded in 2001 and we hope it will go to its
goal. In the year to come, the Ministry of Education and Training
will promote another pilot project in Gia Lai, teaching Thai language
for the Jrai pupils, use Irai as the 1st language.
We hope a lot of useful experience from HEDO will be provided.
Thank you and best regards.