In today’s increasingly diverse world, ethnicity has a dramatic impact on a growing child. The ‘melting pot’ concept has given way to pluralism. Most children whether from majority or minority ethnic groups have contact with groups other than their own and must learn to live with ethnic diversity. Ethnic diversity affects social interaction among students of different ethnic groups. Social interaction among students of different ethnic groups has been a major focus of study in Malaysia in recent years. Schools in Malaysia have students from a variety of ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural backgrounds. When students of a variety of backgrounds are put under one roof, there is a strong tendency to differentiate and polarize. One of the main causes for students to differentiate and polarize is cultural diversity. This article will discuss cultural diversity among students of different ethnic groups in secondary schools. A study was conducted in fifteen secondary schools in North Malaysia with 358 students as samples. The nature of cultural diversity in this study is classified according to an instrument which is related to the students’ lives. The items are based on a study by Phinney (1996) and is adapted to the local setting. The students were given a set of questionnaires and findings were analysed quantitatively. The findings show items which are related to religious and social events tend to be inclined on the ethnic preference factor.
|Keywords:||Cultural Diversity, Pluralism, Education, Interaction|
Lecturer, School of Educational Studies, University Sains Malaysia, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
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