case study nepal

The complex relationship between education and conflict can be seen in the decade-long conflict that took place in Nepal between 1996 and 2006. The conflict started when a group of Maoist rebels in a remote part of the country declared a ‘People’s War’ against the government, which at the time was a constitutional monarchy. The situation was worsened when a royal massacre in 2001 created instability in the national government; the new king disbanded parliament in 2002 and eventually declared absolute rule in 2005. It was not until an alliance between Maoists and the disbanded parliament led to mass protests in 2006 that the king was overthrown and a new government formed (Shields and Rappleye, 2008b). However, the post-conflict environment has remained highly unstable (Pherali, 2011). Although Maoists had a strong showing in elections to the constituent assembly, they have remained at odds with more mainstream political parties and the threat of a return to violence is omnipresent.
Education was very much at the heart of the People’s War. Among the Maoists’ grievances were the right to education in students’ mother tongue (rather than the national Nepali language) and the closure of private schools, which the Maoists claimed created a two-tier education system that benefited the wealthy. However, the links between education and conflict ran more deeply than the Maoists’ stated demands: for decades the curriculum had promoted a strong vision of national identity centred on conservative visions of Hinduism and the use of the Nepali language (Shields and Rappleye, 2008a). Pigg (1992) describes how textbooks promoted integration of the country’s many diverse ethnic groups in order to create a cohesive national identity, yet in doing so they favoured certain groups as being superior to others. High-caste Hindus – who generally speak the national Nepali language – were depicted in prominent positions in textbook illustrations while ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities were portrayed as deficient, often in the background (Pigg, 1992). This portrayal effectively marginalized many of the country’s ethnic and religious minorities, leading to feelings of alienation and antagonism towards the national government. In addition to practices within the classroom, half a century of rapid educational expansion had ingrained into popular consciousness the notion that education would lead to national development and improved standards of living. Although enrolment increased significantly, the promised improvements in employment and income never materialized for much of population. Instead, educated, unemployed, youth provided an ideal body of recruits for the Maoists’ People’s Army (Shields and Rappleye, 2008b).
During the conflict, schools were heavily politicized and subjected to ideological and physical attacks from both sides. As many remote areas of the country lacked other government offices or infrastructure, schools were the only state-run institution, which meant that ‘an attack on the school’ was equivalent to ‘a symbolic attack on the state itself’ (Caddell, 2002:232). Maoists also used schools as a platform to promote their political ideology and to recruit young soldiers for their army (Parker and Standing, 2007). Thus, it is not surprising that on several occasions, fighting between the two sides spilled onto school grounds (Shields and Rappleye, 2008b). Teachers were put into a particularly difficult role, negotiating between the demands of government, the Maoist army, and the communities in which they lived (Shields, 2005). Writing during the conflict, Thapa and Sijipati describe how teaching is a risky job in areas where the Maoists are strong. Teachers are at the receiving end from both sides. As people living in Maoist areas, they are viewed with suspicion by the authorities, whilst their regular contacts with the district administration causes them to be viewed with equal distrust by the Maoists. A disproportionate number of teachers have been killed in the conflict. (Thapa and Sijapati, 2004:6)
Nepal’s recent history provides an excellent example of how conflict and education are deeply intertwined. It also suggests that this link does not stop at education but rather extends to the larger project of national development in which it is situated. Tracing the origins of the Maoist movement, Rappleye (2011a) describes how a USAID-funded programme in the Maoists’ stronghold in the remote west of the country increased the production of cash crops that were sold in India. While the programme benefited large-scale industrial agriculture, it left many of the region’s small-scale farmers behind. This was complemented by an educational paradigm centred on the values of ‘modernity’, including the belief that individual investments in education would inevitably lead to increased opportunities and national development (Pherali, 2011). Carney and Rappleye (2011) link these phenomena in their argument that ‘Nepal’s experience of modernity through “development”, at least as this has manifested in and around the classroom, has contributed directly to the country’s devastating civil war’ (Carney and Rappleye, 2011:2).
The timeframe of Nepal’s conflict also overlaps with a growth in education in emergency programmes. In 2002, a number of development organizations initiated the ‘Children as Zones of Peace Programme’, which sought to mitigate the effects of conflict, including violence against children and the recruitment of child soldiers, through a programme of peace education and advocacy for children’s rights (Parker and Standing, 2007). Even in the post-conflict scenario, education remains a highly politicized and divisive issue, which contributes to a larger context of instability and national fragility (Pherali, 2011).
Using Nepal as a case study, one sees how the education-conflict relationship is complex and multifaceted. While enrolment had expanded greatly over a period of several decades, education contributed to the outbreak of the conflict by reproducing prejudices and marginalizing minority groups. Furthermore, the larger project of national development in which educational expansion was situated was exclusionary, benefiting some while leaving others behind. Throughout the conflict, schools were severely affected by the conflict as violence targeted both teachers and students.
Do you think that policymakers in Nepal could have averted the conflict through educational reform? Is there any way they could have foreseen the outbreak of conflict?

Order a unique copy of this paper
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

We value our customers and so we ensure that what we do is 100% original..
With us you are guaranteed of quality work done by our qualified experts.Your information and everything that you do with us is kept completely confidential.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

The Product ordered is guaranteed to be original. Orders are checked by the most advanced anti-plagiarism software in the market to assure that the Product is 100% original. The Company has a zero tolerance policy for plagiarism.

Read more

Free-revision policy

The Free Revision policy is a courtesy service that the Company provides to help ensure Customer’s total satisfaction with the completed Order. To receive free revision the Company requires that the Customer provide the request within fourteen (14) days from the first completion date and within a period of thirty (30) days for dissertations.

Read more

Privacy policy

The Company is committed to protect the privacy of the Customer and it will never resell or share any of Customer’s personal information, including credit card data, with any third party. All the online transactions are processed through the secure and reliable online payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By placing an order with us, you agree to the service we provide. We will endear to do all that it takes to deliver a comprehensive paper as per your requirements. We also count on your cooperation to ensure that we deliver on this mandate.

Read more

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
$26
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Urgency