Ethnic Minority Educational Success: Understanding Accomplishments in Challenging Settings

Quang Trieu, Rukmalie Jayakody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Regardless of remarkable educational achievements for over the last 20 years, the academic attainment of Vietnam’s ethnic minority students continues to lag behind that of majority students. At upper-secondary education, not only has the educational disparity persisted, but it has increased over time. Recent studies have found ethnic minority students have to face many challenges including poor family socioeconomic background, long distances to school, poor school quality, and linguistic and cultural barriers. Despite challenges, some ethnic minority youths do enroll in and complete their upper-secondary education. Therefore, understanding how ethnic minority students manage to overcome barriers and succeed educationally can provide important insights regarding the means that policymakers, educators, and parents can pursue in order to address the educational disparity. The resilience literature exploring association between household adversities and children’s responses indicates that hardship does not always result in detrimental effects. This study used a mixed-methods approach and explored data from the Families and Communities in Transition study to examine risks and factors promoting upper secondary education among the Thai youth, the second largest ethnic minority group in Vietnam. The study found that poverty, low educated parents, low parental engagement in child’s education, school distance, being bullied, teased, and induced to dropout were challenges to ethnic minority’s upper-secondary school. More importantly, the study provided supporting evidence for a positive attitude toward schooling and effective support from their parents, relatives, school and in-school peers can prevent ethnic minority student from school dropout and promote their educational success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-701
Number of pages39
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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