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Education and conflict in Nepal : impact of violence on schools and the role of education in peacebuilding

Pherali, T J (2012) Education and conflict in Nepal : impact of violence on schools and the role of education in peacebuilding. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

This study is concerned with the interaction between education and conflict in Nepal. It examines the contentious role of education in the emergence and growth of the 'People's War' in 1996 and investigates the impact of the uprising on Nepal's school education. Then, the study identifies various implications of the decade-long civil war for the post-conflict educational reconstruction. The study was carried out employing narrative inquiry as a research approach, in eight schools selected from six different geopolitical districts of Nepal including, Doti, Rolpa, Kapilvastu, Kathmandu, Udaypur and Sankhuwasabha. The data was primarily collected from June to October in 2008 in the form of stories of the participants' experiences during the conflict by using interviews, focus group discussions and narrative writing tasks with a total of 427 research participants including teachers, head teachers, children and their parents. The study reveals that education in Nepal played a complicit role in conflict, primarily benefitting the traditionally privileged social groups in Nepali society and hence, perpetuating the existing structural inequalities, which were the major causes of the civil war. During the conflict, schools were trapped in the middle and teachers and children were abducted and maimed by both the Maoists and security forces. Schools also became prolific sites for political campaigns and recruitment for the Maoists. It was found that the violent conflict had caused a significant loss of teachers' professional motivation and increased their loyalty to political parties instead of the government that ostensibly failed to provide for their personal as well as professional security during and after the conflict. It was also found that educational processes such as teacher recruitment and redeployment, school upgrading, and selection of school management committees were often politicised whilst symbolising community schools as the political entities. The study finally highlights that the post-war political transition has offered an immense opportunity to restructure the education system by recognising the cultural and social diversity of Nepal and addressing the problematic role of education in reproducing the social order. It is recommended that the post-conflict reconstruction should adopt a 'conflict- sensitive' approach to address the structural issues of educational inequity, social exclusion, and political hegemony of the privileged social groups. Hence, the study suggests that peacebuilding involves a process of social transformation in which education can play a significant role by promoting social and political structures that nurture peace with social justice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
Divisions: School of Education
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2017 10:53
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2017 10:53
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6125

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