Entanglements: The Formal and Informal Educational Pathways of Stateless Shan Youth in Northern Thailand
Room 920, Level 9
185 Pelham Street
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Since 2005, a right to education has been extended to the non-citizen 'others' in Thailand. The recently amended Thai citizenship laws lists tertiary education as one of the citizenship criteria for those born in Thailand to non-Thai parents, further cementing higher education as a beacon of hope, a gateway for upward social mobility and a possibility of inclusion for stateless and migrant youth. However, a spotlight on formal education alone does not offer sufficient insights into the lived experience of youth, who use the informal system as a bridge for their educational journey. Neither does it recognise that the history of informal migrant education offered by civil society actors long before the involvement of the Thai state.
This presentation empirically examines the entanglements between the formal and informal educational systems offered to stateless Shan youth in Chiang Mai by various state and non-state actors. It examines the dynamics within the migrant education platform, where these actors constantly seek to defend their space, negotiate their agendas, and at times collaborate.
Janepicha argues that the boundaries between the formal and informal education are more fluid and permeable than the official state discourse. By documenting how stateless Shan youth navigate between the various formal and informal educational systems to forge their future, the presentation provides important empirical contribution to understanding not only stateless youth’s educational pathways, but also their hopes, agency, and identity (re)construction process as they seek those pathways.