This paper examines the mixed impact of the implementation of education policies aimed at ethnic minorities in Vietnam. It draws on the Young Lives survey in 2005 and a qualitative research on 23 Kinh (the majority), Hmong and H'Roi children from the Young Lives sample in Lao Cai and Phu Yen provinces in 2008. The paper finds that despite a conspicuous expansion in access to basic education for ethnic minority students the majority-minority gap in educational achievement persists. Case studies suggest that an uneven allocation of resources partly accounts for the varying record of performance across regions, i.e., between lowlanders and highlanders, and between those who are the direct beneficiaries of socio-development aid and those who are not. Children's experiences in education and development programs, presented in their own voices, mirror their place in the existing structure of inequality in the society. By situating the children's experience in the local political economy, the paper seeks to highlight the dynamics between education and other sources of marginalisation from which some children continue to suffer.
Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2010, Reaching the marginalized, 2010/ED/EFA/MRT/PI/23, 25 pp.