Policymakers' agency and the structure: the case of medium of instruction policy in multilingual Nepal

Prem Prasad POUDEL, Tae Hee CHOI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The medium of instruction (MOI) has been a contested issue in multilingual polities globally, as English medium of instruction (EMI) has seen unprecedented growth, threatening the use and sometimes very survival of local/indigenous and even national languages. While the struggles to address related issues have been well researched, how and why local level policymakers enact the well-meant national policies in a way that marginalises indigenous languages and expands EMI has yet to receive due attention. The research is scarce especially when language policy and planning (LPP) is dealt with as part of overall educational governance. Drawing on in-depth interviews with senior policymakers in two similar constituencies in Nepal, and appropriating David Block's agency framework [(2012). Unpicking agency in sociolinguistic research with immigrants. In S. Gardner & M. Martin-Jones (Eds.), Multilingualism, discourse, and ethnography (pp. 47-60). Routledge.], the paper shows the elements of structure that enable or delimit the decision-making of different policymakers concerning the MOI. While professing multilingualism as their ideal language policy, the policymakers are designing policies that sideline indigenous languages. This unintended outcome results from dealing with diverse aspects of structure, i.e. history, physical and imagined spaces, culture, and discourses around languages. Though situated within Nepal, the discussion has wider implications for understanding agentive acts in this globalising world and for LPP as part of general educational policymaking. Copyright © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
Early online dateMar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 2020

Citation

Poudel, P. P., & Choi, T.-H. (2020). Policymakers' agency and the structure: the case of medium of instruction policy in multilingual Nepal. Current Issues in Language Planning. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/14664208.2020.1741235

Keywords

  • Medium of instruction (MOI)
  • English medium of instruction (EMI)
  • Policymakers
  • Agency
  • Structure
  • Multilingualism in Nepal
  • PG student publication

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