Education, Cultural Values, and Poverty in China's Remote Ethnic Minority Regions

Chun Shing Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


An axiomatic principle of economic growth is that economic advancement is closely associated with educational development. In China, regions in which ethnic minorities are concentrated have, for long periods of time, suffered higher levels of poverty than other parts of the country. In addition to certain factors, such as rugged terrain, remoteness, and inaccessibility, that are conducive to low levels of economic growth, the prevalence of illiteracy and scant investments in education there have made the ethnic minority regions greatly disadvantaged. The Chinese, moreover, regard education as a means to promote patriotism. School curricula tend to emphasize the cultural values of the Chinese rather than those of minority groups, resulting in high drop-out rates among ethnic children. This paper looks into the difficulties of educational development in remote ethnic minority areas, citing essentially examples from Xinjiang, Qinghai, and Guizhou, and to assess their relationships with economic development and cultural values there.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-170
Number of pages12
JournalAsian Geographer
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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