Trilingual education for ethnic minorities: Toward empowerment?

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Trilingual education (encompassing ethnic minority languages, Chinese, and English) for minority students gains popular support from local ethnic communities to redress educational inequality issues affecting majority and minority groups in China. This paper explores the uses of these three languages on two university campuses, representative of an ethnic study program and a regular study program, respectively, and describes how trilingualism relates to minority student participation and further empowerment. The findings suggest trilingual proficiency improves student confidence and expands opportunities for competition with their Han peers. But English is primarily used for the purpose of evaluation and carries little practical function for student studies and their university lives. This paper argues that trilingual education alone, without substantial structural reforms, offers only “imagined” empowerment. Copyright © 2010 M.E. Sharpe, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-81
JournalChinese Education and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


Zhao, Z. (2010). Trilingual education for ethnic minorities: Toward empowerment? Chinese Education and Society, 43(1), 70-81.


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