Thaification - Policies - Education


The second set of policies consists of policies applied nationally, but that disproportionately affect the fringe groups. One example of this is the prescribed use of the Thai language in schools. This had little effect on Central Thais who already used the language in everyday life, but made bilinguals of speakers of Isan in the north-east, of Northern Thai or Kam Mueang (คำเมือง) in the north and of Yawi (ยาวี) in the south. Harsher methods were imposed on the Thai Chinese; after the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, a series of anticommunist governments starting with that of dictator Plaek Pibulsonggram sharply reduced Chinese immigration and prohibited all Chinese language secondary schools in Thailand. Thai Chinese born after the 1950s had "very limited opportunities to enter Chinese schools"; those Thai Chinese who could afford to study overseas studied English instead of Chinese for economic reasons. As a result, the Chinese in Thailand have "almost totally lost the language of their ancestors", and are gradually losing their Chinese identity.

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