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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Discussion Paper Series
Title Education, Nationalism, and Conflict in Plural Society in Nepal: Terai Region in the Post-Maoist Context
Volume 19
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
In the process of formation of “new” nation and society in Nepal, the role of education would
be very crucial for minimizing the ethnic-caste-religion and regional disparity, which is often
considered as one of the important causes of conflicts and various forms of social and political
movements and activisms in the country. This paper aims to address the complex
interrelationships among education, nationalism, and conflicts taking into account the diverse
nature of Nepali society particularly focusing on Terai region, which has received a wide
attention for a popular uprising, known as Madhesi movement, in the aftermath context of
Maoists’ armed struggle in Nepal. Historically, the concepts of education, national development,
and nationalism were closely intertwined with the promotion of national unity and integration
based on selected ethnic-caste groups’ culture, language, and history. The resistances against
such intertwined relationships are limited only to popular political rhetoric and debates;
however, ambiguity on how education can promote national integration amidst diversity is yet
to be discerned. Based on the cases of two villages in Terai, the paper argues that conflicts are
not solely responsible to have a significant gap in educational participation and attainment in
line with ethnic-caste-religion-and-regional belonging. Rather, multiple factors intertwined
with each other—structural discrimination embedded in ethnic-caste based hierarchy, religious
and cultural norms and values that justify the differentiation and distance from one group to
other, economic and linguistic disparities, and state’s homogenization policy based on a
handful number of selected ethnic-caste groups—continue to contribute to the widening
educational gap between those who are being privileged and those who are being marginalized
due to state policies on education.

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