Contextualizing Dropout Experiences of Youth Migrants in Transitional Myanmar : 전환기 미얀마 이주청소년 노동자의 공교육 중도탈락 경험에 관한 질적연구

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Moon Suk HONG
Sung-Sang YOO
사범대학 협동과정글로벌교육협력전공
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서울대학교 대학원
Myanmareducationlifelong learninganthropology of educationliminalityyouth migrant workersdropout
학위논문 (박사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 협동과정글로벌교육협력전공, 2017. 2. 유성상.
This doctoral dissertation addresses how the lives and learning of youth migrants in Yangon are interwoven during the economic, political, dramatic and cultural social transitions in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Myanmar or Burma). It explores that first, multidimensional drivers of youths' decisions on dropping out of school beyond economic issues
second, the pathways of dropping out of school from youth's experiences from the ethnographic and interpretative approach as well as interplays between schooling as a social institution and individual dropouts being evolved in between. And third, drawn from youths life experiences within and outside of school, it re-theorise understanding socio-cultural and educational aspects of school dropouts and further the current phenomenon of Myanmars inequality in education.

By rooted in social anthropology and influenced by critical sociology, Victor Tuners notions on Structure and Anti-Structure, Liminality and Communitas are re-visited in order to contextualise the shifting realities of life and learning of Yangons migrant Youth workers. These theoretical lenses allowed to explore twelve research participants to that collected and analysed the recent life histories before and after dropping out of school as the basis for an understanding of their learning inside and outside of formal schooling. This study has a strong focuses on process of the twelve youth, rather the results of dropping out itself: (i) Breaking away (separation), (ii) of being out of school and working (being in liminal space) and (iii) seeking the possibilities for integration (re-integration or separation).

It is argued that interplays of the two aspects - the Outer process of poverty, structured failures from education systems and lack of quality education and the Internal process of benevolence – which is formed ideas of Dana and Sedana, Ana and Anade create space of Myanmars unique space for liminality. In the micro-subjective perspective. The major finding is mainly three folds. First, it is evident that root causes of inequality in Myanmar's education also are operated as a sociocultural issues. Formal education in Myanmar in the past can be perceived as a political and social reproduction of disadvantages and inequalities of Myanmar society itself. Thus, inequalities have been being recycled through the education system and other social institutions in Myanmar which is under the former governments that still structurally lingers in contemporary Myanmars education. Second, by putting lights on critical social symbols of educational realities of dropout youths, poverty as a powerful social symbol, structured failures in formal schooling as educational symbol and cultural symbol of benevolence were found the most powerful cultural symbol that underlay conditions their life choices. Particularly, in a liminal space and time for the young migrants, the concept of Sedana (Dana) and Anade (Ana) – which captures the essence of benevolence and generosity plays critical socio-cultural foundations that underlines the interplays between inner process and outer process of liminality. Therefore, third, being in liminal stage, not in ritual state in a traditional society, its migrant youth may not be able to have space to return due to their Structural Inferiority and Outsiderhoods. No matter how exciting and glamorous the initial arrival of a big city looked, the migrant youth workers are likely to be able to re-integrated or re-incorporated or simply fallen into the further cracks without further education, learning and skill development in fastest growing city of Yangon.

It argues that the unique mechanism of Sedana (Dana) and Anade (Ana) plays critical elements of day-to-day conceptualisation of their lives and education in the past, current and future. It is argued that the participating youths in the research have shown that the cultural mechanism of ignoring and transcending the difficulties are deep-rooted in the acceptance of power. This is embedded in their perceptions, behaviours and choices of education, employment and migration. In other words, youth themselves semi-ㅡvoluntarily accept the everyday power and authority which take away any educational opportunities from those who are legible for public education.

The research depicts that transitions of Yangons migrant youths workers are relational and multi-faceted, rather than fixed and linear than theorists or policy specialist expects. And their imagined better life with filled with learning opportunities in the city in liminality as wholly emancipatory. This thesis explores that what happens in the process of changes of young migrant workers in the shifting economic-learning, socio-cultural –learning nexus. Since the first democratic election in 2010 and the new government introduced in 2015, there are growing markets, more opportunities for youth employment, followed by urbanization and notable international and internal migration. With the long desired wind of democratization and social changes, youths' choice of remaining in malfunctioning public schools and leaving for new job opportunities was a multi-dimensional choice.

At the time of democratically elected governments reform accompanied with major education reform, it welcomes that education, more importantly the problems of dropout, stared taken seriously for the first time in thirty years. In this context, it is the precious opportunity that education reform embraces the quality education and lifelong learning for All. Providing more equitable and flexible education learning in both public schooling and communities only can start from understanding very real context lives and learning of school dropouts. No matter how society calls school dropouts - Failures, Underachievers or Outliers, the thesis offer both academic and real life time narratives from the school dropouts who have a lot of lessons for the upcoming education reform of transitional Myanmar.
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