Identity and Education in Nepal

Simultaneous Identities: Language, Education, and the Nepali Nation is by Uma Pradhan and published by Cambridge University Press. Jingwei Li reviews it for JCA.

In recent decades education in Nepal has “enabled a revival of the minority language education,” with some schools encouraging local language instruction and encouraging pupils to use local languages. In this book, Pradhan uses ethnography to examine two schools for the insights and conflicts involved in this change.

Pradhan’s discussion focuses on minority language education
in the classroom. While this may not seem overtly political, the author “reveals the
implicit ethnic competition and negotiation between the government and the ethnic speakers on language.” Her ethnography builds on the narratives of teachers and students to show the “simultaneity” of ethnicity and state.

Li concludes that Simultaneous Identities is “a well-written ethnography” that “offers a fascinating read on ethnography and presents a rethinking of multiculturalism in the context of Nepal, enabling readers to better understand the situation of minority language education in a diverse society.” The book is also “an impressive reflection on the researcher’s position, explaining power relations from the author’s viewpoint while including perspectives on the position and presence of the author in the analysis.”

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