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Perspectives on education from South East Asia

Tue, April 16, 1:30 to 3:00pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Bay (Level 1), Bayview B

Group Submission Type: Refereed Round-Table Session


The South East Asian region consists of eleven countries with a combined population of 620 million, and is one of the fastest growing regions in terms of economic output in the world. South East Asia is made up of both mainland (Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia) and island (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor, the Philippines, Brunei) nations. All these eleven countries are dealing with environmental concerns, vestiges of colonialism, and their own challenges of development, making it a significant region to both research and include in any study of environmental sustainability in interrogating development and education. South East Asia has responded to cultural, political, and environmental changes for over four millennia. This history offers several ways to view resilience in a world where sustainability is a big concern, and hence can offer new perspectives for sustainable education.

Geographically, South East Asia sits in the middle of India and China and has been historically colonized as well as been caught in the crossfire of the Cold War. Developmentally, it has been at the periphery of several global systems. The region has immense cultural, linguistic, religious, ecological diversity, and is a site to study the challenges, both in natural and human habitat, of the twenty-first century.

This panel will include six papers of research from the region, from theoretical, applied and empirical research. They will span research from Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, and one spanning the region.
These papers are in the area of linguistics, philosophy, sociology of knowledge, environment, practice of education, from a range of scholars who include CIE researchers, Music Educator, Computational Linguist, Civil Engineer, who all explore differences in policy, practice, research ethnographies and knowledge production. This panel will provide the audience with a look into the range of research being produced in and about South East Asia, an area that has traditionally not found space among Area Studies despite rich history, ecology, and politics.

This panel will also garner interest in studies about the region with a view to form a South East Asia SIG.

(Thammasat University, Thailand has offered to sponsor refreshments for this panel to invite a larger audience to hear research from South East Asia)

Chair: Dr. Kristy Kelly. Weatherhead East Asian institute, Columbia University.
Discussant: Cody Freeman. Faculty of Learning Sciences & Education, Thammasat University.

The papers:

Sumita Ambasta’s (Teachers College, Columbia University) research reviews the literature on South East Asia and Sociology of Knowledge. Since this region has a distinct pre and post-colonial history, it offers a site to study and examine categories of knowledge that apply to education, from traditional and indigenous ways of knowing, dispersion of knowledge through movement, and shifting of national, political, and religious boundaries. Since this region was the original “Indies,” the destination of colonialism, and “spice routes,” research from this region can provide a perspective of how the categories of globalization, development and education are experienced in a region which was the site of maritime trade, and multiculturalism, for two millennia before colonialism changed its geography, and categories of education and knowledge. Its rich ecological diversity offers a site to examine implications of development to finding sustainability.

(Conceptual/Theoretical Research, South East Asia) Keywords: Knowledge Production and Exchange. Critical Theory, Interdisciplinary Studies.

Ngô Thanh Nhàn’s (New York University; Temple University) paper deals with linguistics and binary branching in Vietnamese scripts. Binary branching is a theory of how basic building blocks of Vietnamese syllable phonology and word formation are related (Nhan, 1984).  He uses spelling out loud as a way to reveal internal structures in the mind of learners of Asian writing systems based on syllables, ideographic (old Vietnamese) and south pali (Cham) included. The paper does this through a study of orthography of an ancient language Nom, used for over 1000 years, offering a traditional way of understanding the structure of language, with implications for application to modern technology.

(Theoretical/Empirical Research, Vietnam) Keywords: Linguistics. Literacy Studies. Philosophy of Education.
Phan Gia Anh-Thư (Teachers College, Columbia University) and Prof. Nguyễn Thị Mỹ Liêm’s (Saigon University, Vietnam) paper examines the common features of South-East Asian music seen through an educational music processor. The authors note that notating non-western music in western notation has stripped away many unique intrinsic features. Adding these once lost features back to their context, the adjacent pitches and syllables, reveal culturally dependent characteristics of sonic artefacts. Their applied research includes the linguistic and tonal elements of traditional Vietnamese Folk Music, into musical processing, adding a culturally-appropriate complexity into the development of a universal musical processor.
(Empirical Research, Vietnam) Keywords: Music Education. Instructional Technology. Interdisciplinary Studies.

Kevin Henderson’s (Teachers College, Columbia University) research examines the correlation between the use of Digital Technology and Faculty perceptions in Higher Education in Asia. This study examines faculty perceptions on digital technology across ten countries and regions in Asia, including India, the Philippines, Indonesia and China. The results of the research suggest the importance of developing a digital policy framework to support faculty development and institutional identity.

(Empirical research, Philippines, Indonesia, India, China) Keywords: digital policy, digitization, digital learning, higher education

Kazuaki Iwabuchi’s (Teachers College, Columbia University) paper looks at the gap between Environmental Policy at the national and regional level compared to people’s awareness of environmental concerns examined through an International Social Survey conducted in 2010. Latent variables are used in the analysis to suggest criteria that could lead to forming a more effective National Environmental policy.

(Empirical Research, Philippines) Keywords: Environmental Education. Policy Studies and Analysis. Quantitative Methods.

Prasanti Sarli’s (Institut Teknologi, Bandung, Indonesia) paper compares two different cases of urban slum regeneration, in Malang and Yogyakarta, Indonesia, which employed different ways to approach environmental education in which behaviors have changed in both communities. In this research, it was investigated whether community education is the only or most effective strategy to change the communities’ behavior towards environmentally-friendly behavior, with implications for education for sustainability.

(Empirical Research, Indonesia) Keywords: Sustainability, Adult Education and Lifelong learning. Quantitative Methods.

Sub Unit

Individual Presentations