What does foreign aid for education contribute to the maintenance of indigenous knowledge in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam?
These notes are based on observations conducted over seventeen years, including visits to projects, both structured and open ended interviews with participants and, more recently, a systematic review of reports prepared between 1991 and 1995. Results show that the principal thrust of all foreign aid projects which targeted indigenous people as preferred recipients were designed to provide access to state schooling, an education conducted in the national language and dominated by curricula objectives originating in the capital city. This is not what the people want. The preoccupation of state authorities with nation building and teaching skills that meet urban and industrial needs rather than the rural and agricultural priorities of indigenous people has contributed to the latters growing sense of alienation and eroded their sense of identity.