Theses Doctoral

The Paradox of Minzu Higher Education: Structural Inequity and Exclusion of Tibetans in China’s Tertiary Education

Lajiadou, Fnu

This dissertation is a study of the minzu stream for ethnic Tibetan students in the context of bilingual degree programs in China’s tertiary education system. It draws attention to the significance of bilingual ‘diversity’ education and its presumed role in ensuring cultural and social inclusion of Tibetan students in study programs and equity in educational and occupational attainment.

This study finds that Tibetan students’ learning outcomes and career pathways are systemically restricted due to limited availability of specialized study areas in bilingual programs, poor education quality, homogenized academic training, and discrimination regarding the value of Tibetan graduates’ credentials for employment. As a result, Tibetan students’ educational and occupational opportunities are largely shaped by the structural conditions of the binary choice in ethnic streaming policy in tertiary education and the university mission that is primarily occupied with the political socialization of ethnic minority groups.

Drawing on Bourdieu’s cultural reproduction theory, I argue that the social exclusion of Tibetans from fully participating in national tertiary education and exercising their language rights in academic study programs has been institutionalized in minzu higher education. The institutionalization of cultural and social exclusion effectively conceals the systemic inequalities embedded in the streaming practices and reproduces structural inequity in educational and occupational attainment.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Comparative and International Education
Thesis Advisors
Limerick, Nicholas
Pallas, Aaron M.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 20, 2022