Voicing the Unheard: An Examination of the School Experiences of Nepali Dalit Students
Repository Usage Stats
This thesis examines the impact of and relationship among several factors that shape the school experiences of Nepali Dalit students. In Nepal, caste is at the center of people’s conversations about themselves and their experiences at school. Regrettably, Dalit students’ position at the bottom of the caste hierarchy continues to frame their educational experience. While there is an emerging literature on this issue, only a handful of studies consider the school experiences of Dalits from their own perspectives, and the research tends to have a narrow geographical focus. As a result, the scholarly work fails to adequately emphasize and analyze the heterogeneity of Dalit students' school experiences. This thesis addresses these gaps in the existing research in order to articulate a more nuanced understanding of Dalit students' school experiences. During the summer of 2014, I conducted interviews with 61 Dalit children from various geographical regions (Sindhupalchok in Mountain region, Lalitpur in Hilly region, and Nawalparasi in Terai region) and with different levels of socio-economic status. Informed by current educational theory and recent studies focused on Nepal, my analysis of the interview transcripts identified three social context factors (Family Educational Background, Economic Status, and Neighborhood Effects) and five school-related factors (Caste of Teachers, Teachers’ Expectations, School Curriculum, Dalit Scholarship Programs, and Relationship with Peers) that all significantly affect Dalit students’ school experiences. Moreover, I discovered that these factors do not operate in isolation but that, rather, they interact in powerful ways to shape and influence the school experiences of Dalit students. While further studies on an even larger scale are necessary in order to better understand and enhance the quality of Dalit education, my research shows decisively that any policy designed to improve Dalit education must, in order to be effective, form part of a broader initiative to identify and address the ways in which multiple factors come together to shape their school experiences.
Descriptionhonors thesis; awarded high honors; winner of Winfred Quinton Holton Prize for Innovative Work in the Field of Education
DepartmentInternational Comparative Studies
CitationRajak, Laxmi (2015). Voicing the Unheard: An Examination of the School Experiences of Nepali Dalit Students. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/9726.
More InfoShow full item record
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers