The Medium of Instruction Policy in Nepal: Towards Critical Engagement on the Ideological and Pedagogical Debate
Journal of Language and Education, 2019, 5(3), 102-110. doi: 10.17323/jle.2019.8995
9 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2020
Date Written: September 30, 2019
Although there were attempts to develop multilingual and multicultural education in Nepal, changes have remained more discursive than pragmatic at the working level. Problems discussed have remained unsolved. The issues of protection and promotion of the historically residing linguistic diversity have been addressed through the current constitution (Constitution of Nepal-2015) which provides an appropriate legal framework for substantive legal protection for the national indigenous languages as MOIs. However, the successful implementation of this provision is further complicated due to the global political economy, interdependence, and the ‘sandwiched’ geopolitical status of Nepal. It has been noted that education policymaking is highly centralised and implementation is top-down (Edwards, 2011) in many countries such as Nepal, the current trend of English-medium instruction supported by parents, communities, and the private sector from the bottom up will further weaken the attempts for mother tongue MOI in Nepalese schools. Moreover, the social capitalisation of English from the bottom up will have grave consequences for language policymaking in education, which are obviously dismal but essential nonetheless. Despite the research findings revealing that multilingual education offers the best possibilities for preparing the coming generation to participate in constructing more equitable and democratic societies in the globalised world, the translation of such findings into real-life practice is telescopic. This article emphasises the need for the critical engagement of scholars, educators, investors, and policymakers in order to develop contextually realistic, sustainable, and efficient MOI policymaking that justifies the use of mother tongues, national language, and the global language in an integrated framework sufficient for future generations to compete both locally and globally.
Keywords: medium of instruction policy, Nepal, ideological, pedagogical, multilingual
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