English as a medium of instruction, social stratification, and symbolic violence in Nepali schools: Untold stories of Madhesi children

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9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite the state’s commitment to the mother-tongue-based multilingual education policy, the use of English as a medium of instruction (EMI) is widespread in Nepal. Previous studies have documented the ideologies and practices of EMI policy, but the context of Madhes (Southern Nepal) is still underexplored. This chapter reports on the findings from an ethnographic exploration of the EMI policy practices in a public school located in a minoritized ethnic community in Birgunj, Nepal. Drawing on theories of “language ideology” and “symbolic power/violence,” this chapter argues that the ideology and practices of EMI policy create a context of symbolic violence and social reproduction for Madhesi ethnic and class minoritized children, while elite and dominant ethnic groups are endowed with educational privilege. Framed within neoliberal and nationalist language ideologies, EMI has become the most celebrated but an unplanned and unequal policy model of education. Further, languaging practices in the EMI school reveal the legitimacy of English and Nepali over students’ mother tongue, developing a case of political, educational, and psychological struggles for Madhesi children. I argue, in the chapter, that a plurilingual practice cannot be fully claimed as liberating without including students’ mother tongue. Copyright © 2022 selection and editorial matter, Lina Adinolfi, Usree Bhattacharya, and Prem Phyak; individual chapters, the contributors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilingual education in South Asia: At the intersection of policy and practice
EditorsLina ADINOLF, Usree BHATTACHARYA, Prem PHYAK
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge
Pages50-68
ISBN (Electronic)9781000566291
ISBN (Print)9780367746049
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Citation

Sah, P. K. (2022). English as a medium of instruction, social stratification, and symbolic violence in Nepali schools: Untold stories of Madhesi children. In L. Adinolfi, U. Bhattacharya, & P. Phyak (Eds.), Multilingual education in South Asia: At the intersection of policy and practice (pp. 50-68). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003158660-4

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