Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Research Student: Chung Gilliland

Photo of Chung Gilliland

Inclusion of children from ethnic minority in mainstream education in Vietnam

Submission Date: November 2014

Vietnam is committed to an 'Education for All' policy and has made primary education completely free to bring all primary-aged children into school. After years of trying, however, the government is confronting challenges relating to ethnic minorities, including: bringing these children into schools; encouraging them not to drop out; heightening their academic achievement.

My research aims to develop a thick description of the learning situations of ethnic minority pupils at their early years in mainstream education in Vietnam, to understand any difficulties that directly or indirectly affect their learning in schools. This, I expect, will ultimately contribute to improvements in the country’s education quality, particularly the delivery of education for all groups of learners.


I graduated with a bachelor of education, followed by a master’s in Early Childhood Education from University of Southern Queensland in 2007. I initially taught at high schools in Vietnam, followed by teaching at an international primary school in Laos. Since graduating from USQ, I have completed a Graduate Certificate of Tertiary Teaching and Learning at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and have been working as Head of an International Kindergarten, where I implemented a joint British and Australian curriculum.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

It was working in international schools that first piqued my interest, and I questioned myself as to why children from diverse cultures in international schools cope well with learning in a second language (English), whereas language minority children in mainstream education in Vietnam have been struggling. I determined to look for an answer and I believe the School of Education at the University of Leeds is the right institute to help me search for that answer.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

I feel passionate about my topic because I believe my research results could not only shed more light on the current learning situations of ethnic minority learners, but could also offer a fresh view for the majority of Vietnamese people when looking at the struggle that these minority learners have been experiencing in the system. That ultimately could provoke some thoughts for policy makers and educational stakeholders to ensure all individuals are well included in the education system. 

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I wish to join other researchers to carry out further action research within the Southeast Asia region, and in Vietnam in particular, to contribute to the development of learning programmes that would provide equal opportunities for both majority and minority learners.

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