The Path from the Village

The Education of Thai Ethnic Students in Vietnam


  • Pang Van Lo Dien Bien Teacher Training College
  • Neil Welch Flinders University



Indigenous, remote, Thai, ethnic, socio-ecological, educational outcomes


This is a result of a pilot study undertaken to explore the key influences shaping the schooling and education of Thai ethnic students living in rural mountain villages in one of the poorest and least educated regions of Vietnam. This study used a qualitative multiple case study approach and gathered information using multiple semi-structured interviews with four senior secondary students, their parents and their teachers. Two of these students were males and two were female, and two were achieving high grades while the others were receiving low grades. During the interviews, information was collected on the influence of families, Thai culture and identity, the school, school policies, teaching practices, school resources, the physical environment, weather, and school relationships on student learning and well-being. In relation to school relationships information was collected on teacher-student, student-peer and school-parent relationships. This study took a socio-ecological approach.

In analysing the data collected, 15 key influences were identified that shaped the schooling and education of the four study participants. These influences were: economic vulnerability and hardship of families, special challenges for students travelling to and from school, commitment to after school duties on the family farm, the parents lack of education and schooling, problems relating to the national curriculum and how it is taught, lack of special support for students learning Vietnamese as a second language, use of a teacher-centred pedagogy rather than a student-centred one,  limited learning support when students had learning difficulties, the impact of grades and level of academic achievement on motivation and engagement, lack of recognition of Thai culture and identity, student perceptions of social difference, impact of teacher-student and student-peer relationships on student learning, students use of coping strategies, limited school facilities and teaching resources, and teachers who  have received limited training and professional development.  

Author Biography

Pang Van Lo, Dien Bien Teacher Training College

Social Science Department




How to Cite

Lo, P. V., & Welch, N. (2019). The Path from the Village: The Education of Thai Ethnic Students in Vietnam. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 29(1), 72–87.