Education as a Tool for Supporting Inter-Ethnic Harmony

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-12-104-110
A. Bardin, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation (

Abstract. A comparative analysis of state education policy in multicultural societies allows to assess the potential of such policy in providing an interethnic harmony. Through the example of a former colonial power and a former colony, the author reveals resources and restrictions of such policy in building a civic identity. It is shown that in the UK, the key role in preventing an ethnopolitical conflict is played by identity politics based on diversity values. However, the British educational discourse is interpreted at the local level, in light of different approaches to teaching and representing the identity in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as to the phenomenon of “neoliberal rationality” which significantly weakens the state’s ability to impose a certain vision of identity on its citizens. While in Malaysia some elements of the British educational policy can still be found, along with a similar perception of civic identity represented in terms of a diverse society, its educational policy is more homogeneous and more effective due to a number of reasons. The main contribution to establishing a certain level of interethnic harmony in Malaysia, apart from promotion of the civic identity concept, was made, firstly, by improving an access to education for all ethnic groups, the resulting alignment of social imbalances and increase in economic mobility, and secondly, by developing both English and national language teaching as well as improving the latter in order to follow dictates of the present time.

Keywords: ethnicity, national identity, civic identity, multiculturalism, multicultural society, interethnic harmony, ethnopolitical conflict management, education policy, comparative studies, UK, Malaysia 


1. Semenenko I.S. Politika identichnosti i identichnost' v politike: etnonatsional'nye rakursy, evropeiskii kontekst [Identity Politics and Identities in Politics: Interethnic Perspectives in a European Context]. Polis. Political Studies, 2016, no. 4, pp. 8-28. DOI:

2. Fishman J.A. Sociolinguistics & Language Problems of Developing Countries. Language Problems of Developing Nations. Ed. by Fishman J.A. New York, Wiley, 1968, pp. 3-16.

3. Ager D.E. Motivation in Language Planning and Policy. Multilingual Matters, 2001. 210 p. 

4. Kelman H.C. Language as an Aid and Barrier to Involvement in the National System. Can Language Be Planned? Sociolinguistic Theory and Practice for Developing Nations. Rubin J., Jernudd B.H., eds. Honolulu, University Press of Hawaii, 1971, pp. 21-51.

5. Sadovaya E., Bardin A., Dovbysh E. Indeksy sotsial'nogo samochuvstviya kak instrument issledovaniya i prognozirovaniya etnopoliticheskikh konfliktov [Indices of Social Well-being as Tool for Analysis and Forecast of Ethnopolitical Conflicts]. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2016, vol. 60, no. 9, pp. 57-66. DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-9-57-66

6. 2011 Census Analysis: Ethnicity and Religion of the non-UK Born Population in England and Wales: 2011. Available at: (accessed 01.08.2016).

7. Rethinking Education for Social Cohesion. International Case Studies. Shuyab M., ed. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2012. 254 p.

8. Pykett J. Citizenship Education and Narratives of Pedagogy. Citizenship Studies, 2010, vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 621-635.

9. Population Distribution and Basic Demographic Characteristic Report 2010 (Updated: 05/08/2011). Department of Statistics Malaysia. Official Portal. Available at: (accessed 01.08.2016).

10. Asmah H.O. Malaysia & Brunei. Language & National Identity in Asia. Simpson A., ed. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 337-359. 

11. Loh Ph. Seeds of Separatism: Educational Policy in Malaya 1874–1940. Oxford University Press, 1975. 165 p.

12. Esman M.J. Administration and Development in Malaysia. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1972. 341 p.

13. Report of The Education Review Committee, 1960. Available at: (accessed 01.08.2016). 

14. Boo Teik K. Beyond Mahathir: Malaysian Politics and its Discontents. London, New York, Zed Books, 2004. 224 p. 

15. Zolotukhin I.N. Malaiziya v zerkale etnokonfessional'noi situatsii: istoriya i sovremennost' [Malaysia in the Mirror of Ethnoconfessional Situation: History and Contemporaneity]. Oikumena. Regional Researches, 2010, vol. 1, pp. 7-17.

16.  Hefner R.W. Introduction: Multiculturalism and Citizenship in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. The Politics of Multiculturalism: Pluralism and Citizenship in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 2001, pp. 1-58.

17. Preliminary Report. Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013–2025. 2013. Available at: (accessed 01.08.2016).

18. The State of Malaysia: Ethnicity, Equity, and Reform. Gomez E.T., ed. New York, RoutledgeCurzon, 2004. 272 p.

19. The State, Development and Identity in Multi-Ethnic Societies: Ethnicity, Equity and the Nation. Tarling N., Gomez E.T., eds. London, New York, Routledge, 2008. 256 p.


Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Bardin A. Education as a Tool for Supporting Inter-Ethnic Harmony. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, No 12, pp. 104-110.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2023, vol. 67, No. 6
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Far Eastern Regions of RF in Modern Russian-Chinese Cooperation  
  • Caribbean Segment of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Context of Sino-US Relations
  • “Hard Power” of Afghan Radical Islamists in Asia
  • Grounding Ontology of the “International” in Terms of Radical Constructivism
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.