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Title:College access for first-generation highlander college students of northern Thailand
Author(s):Saenghong, Nannaphat
Director of Research:Anderson, James D.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Anderson, James D.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Trent, William; Baber, Lorenzo; Hill , Jacquetta
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):college access
higher education
hill tribes
highland ethnic minority
Abstract:This study focuses on first-generation college students of highland ethnic minorities, formally known as “hill tribes,” who have languages and cultures very different from mainstream Thais. Little is known about college attendance among these students, and the Thai government collects no statistical data on these populations. This study asked the following questions. What are the key determinants that support college access for first-generation highlander college students? How do students perceive the role of ethnicity in relation to their college access? What significance does higher education have for highlander students, families, and ethnic communities? Among the relatively few first-generation highlander college students, I chose to study young people of Hmong, Karen, Lahu, Akha, and Mien ethnic backgrounds attending a public university in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Using a qualitative inquiry and life history approach, I conducted interviews, participant observation, focus group interview, and document analysis. The analysis indicated five key determinants contributed to the students’ successful college access: parental support, significant others, students’ resilience, student loans, and a college admission quota for highland ethnic minorities. Next, the findings indicated that highland students viewed that ethnicity provided them with both advantages and disadvantages. Lastly, the findings indicated that higher education was perceived to provide benefits in three different ways. The study also spelled out the implications for educational policies and practices that could create more equitable opportunities in college access and could address the issue of ethnic harassment experienced by highlander students.
Issue Date:2015-04-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Nannaphat Saenghong
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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