Production of citizens through formal schooling: youth experiences and aspirations in rural Nepal
The PhD project aims to understand what implications involvement in secondary schools have for young people’s experiences of schooling and future aspirations in a remote rural part of Nepal in a period of political transition. The analyses centers on three issues 1) how rural schools has been affected by the national socio-political changes and what role it has played in the process; 2) How young people’s experiences of engaging in secondary school are constituted and constitutive of their aspirations and how these change in the current political setting (of democratization, constitution writing, peace and development); 3) Whether and how involvement in secondary schooling is a prerequisite for creating new awareness, new practices and new futures for the present generation of young students (the coming citizens of a ‘naya Nepal’).
Schooling has become a main aspiration for young people and their families in Nepal and the school is the first and often the only place where young people meet stately defined norms and ideals in rural Nepal. During the conflict it was the main arena for the Maoists to seek to influence and recruit young people for their ‘people’s war’. There are growing expectations from donors and the Nepalese government alike that young people constitute a primary human resource to ensure democratisation and poverty alleviation in the country and the school is regarded the main arena to ensure this. Yet, young people’s own experiences and aspirations and the processes in which these are produced, have been underexplored. The present study will contribute to fill this gap.
The project is based on 9 months periods of ethnographic fieldwork in 2007 and 2008/9, in two school catchment areas in a hill district of far western Nepal. It focuses upon young people in class 9 and 10 and the primary actors influencing their pursuit of schooling and construction of aspirations for the future.
The PhD project is funded by FFU and will run from January 2007 until November 2010.
DIIS researchers involved: Birgitte Lind Petersen.
Networks or partners involved: Department of Geography, University of Copenhagen