Hunter Gatherer Research

Exploring culture-based learning for Moken hunter-gatherer children

Hunter Gatherer Research (2019), 5, (1-2), 67–92.


Despite numerous education readjustments by the government, efforts for equal opportunity in education and an increase in present enrolment, many indigenous children in Thailand continue to face serious obstacles in the formal education system. This study focuses on the Moken hunter-gatherer communities in southern Thailand and seeks to analyse and understand the situation of Moken children and the shortcomings of the formal education system within their context. Traditional ways of knowing, especially knowing through nature and through play, are used as a platform to rethink the way we look at indigenous children’s education in Thailand. This paper identifies alternate approaches to sustainable and inclusive education for Moken children in the Thai education context. Traditional practices of knowledge transmission based around play and self-directed learning are looked at to help bridge the gap between Moken learners and the formal education system in order to contextualise and make relevant the curriculum that is taught. While this study only focuses on the Moken, findings and conclusions may be drawn to encompass a larger scope in terms of implications for other indigenous learners in Thailand.

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Author details

Sanglir, Jason