Conflict, Education and Child Rights Insights from Nepal


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Conflict, Education and Child Rights Insights from Nepal

  1. 1. WELCOME TO DYUTI 2009 BALA RAJU NIKKU, MASW, PhD Head, Department of Social Work Kadambari Memorial College of Science and Management Purbanchal University Affiliate Katmandu, Nepal 00977-1-2030346
  2. 2. Conflict, Education and Child Rights Insights from Nepal <ul><li>By </li></ul><ul><li>Bala Raju Nikku and Ruud van Hirtum </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Social Work </li></ul><ul><li>Kadambari Memorial College of Science and Management </li></ul><ul><li>( Purbanchal University affiliate) </li></ul><ul><li>Email: </li></ul>
  3. 3. Research question(s) <ul><li>How and why right to education of Children has been violated during Maoist insurgency of 1996-2006 in Nepal? </li></ul><ul><li>Sub Questions: </li></ul><ul><li>why schools were targeted for violent party activities ? </li></ul><ul><li>How and why were schools, students and teachers involved in the Maoist insurgency of 1996-2006 in Nepal? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Methodology <ul><li>Secondary and Primary sources </li></ul><ul><li>largest part of the data was collected through unstructured and semi-structured interviews with key informants ( School Teachers, Students, NGO and Education bureaucrats) </li></ul><ul><li>data was then compared to NGO reports and newspaper articles covering the conflict </li></ul>
  5. 5. CRC <ul><li>Education is one of the most important rights that children have, and a right that deserves to be protected. </li></ul><ul><li>The right of the child to education is elaborated in article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. </li></ul>
  6. 6. NEPAL : 75 Districts 5 Development Regions
  7. 7. Basic Facts <ul><li>82 Percentage of Nepalis live on less than US$2 per day </li></ul><ul><li>Literacy rate male 63%, female 28% (average 49%) </li></ul><ul><li>Human Development Index 136, out of 177 countries (2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Surface Area 147, 181 sq km - just larger than Greece </li></ul><ul><li>Gross National Income (GNI) Gross National Income (GNI) : US$240 per capita </li></ul><ul><li>Life expectancy 61 years </li></ul><ul><li>Doctors per 100, 000 people 5 (606 in Italy) </li></ul><ul><li>Population (2005) 26.3 million </li></ul>
  8. 8. Conceptual Framework <ul><li>“ Education in conflict and post-conflict situations as a recognized practitioner and research field is in its infancy” (Tomlinson and Benefield, 2005, p. 9). </li></ul><ul><li>Nelles (2005), in his article on the role that education played in the Kosovo conflict, also claims that ‘substantial case studies or field research on education in emergencies is lacking, apart from some theoretical essays or operational planning documents’. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Conceptual Framework <ul><li>The children’s right to education is well established in international law. However, in conflict areas, the right to education is one of many human rights that is violated on a regular basis ( Tomlinson and Benefield 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Conflict can severely obstruct countries in achieving what is known as the ‘Education for All’-goal: the Millennium Development Goal that by 2015 all children have access to education ( World Education Forum, Dakar 2000) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Conceptual Framework <ul><li>Machel argues that schools can be targeted during war because of their high profile. “In rural areas, the school building may be the only substantial permanent structure.” (Machel, 1996, p. 47). </li></ul><ul><li>Schools may be subjected to bombing, looting or forced closure. According to the Machel report, in Mozambique an estimated 45 per cent of primary school network was destroyed during the war. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Conceptual Framework <ul><li>Local teachers might also be targeted, because of their central place in a community. Teachers are also more politicized than the average citizen. </li></ul><ul><li>In the crisis in Rwanda, more than two-thirds of teachers were killed or fled the violence, leaving schools without teachers( Machel, 1996). </li></ul><ul><li>Another difficulty for schools is that during war, funding and administrative support may be inconsistent leading to school closure, forcing children to join the conflict </li></ul>
  12. 12. Education and Conflict <ul><li>Machel (1996) argues that it is essential to educate children during times of war. </li></ul><ul><li>First of all because it is a fundamental right of a child, furthermore, education represents normalcy, making it easier for children to cope. </li></ul><ul><li>Education can also be used to teach children valuable lessons about coping and surviving during conflict time. Education benefits society as a whole and can provide stability to a country. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Need for Further Research <ul><li>Further research in analyzing the linkages between conflict and education is therefore urgently needed. </li></ul><ul><li>However, two problems complicate the matter: </li></ul><ul><li>Data is hard to come by </li></ul><ul><li>Gap between research and practice </li></ul>
  14. 14. Need for New Research Questions <ul><li>Despite these complications, several issues concerning education and conflict have been under discussion and are being researched. </li></ul><ul><li>The discussion is generally focussed along two lines: </li></ul><ul><li>-the necessity of supporting the educational system during a war; and </li></ul><ul><li>-ways in which the educational sector itself can be a catalyst for armed conflict. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Motivation <ul><li>The goal of this paper is not only to add insights in what ways the conflict has affected the educational system in Nepal but why this has been the case? </li></ul><ul><li>What are/were the socio, economic and political reasons/ motives for the parties in struggle to choose education as a target? </li></ul><ul><li>In order to protect children, teachers and schools during periods of armed conflict, we need to know why are they targeted. </li></ul><ul><li>Insights in to these motives may help child right organizations, governments and duty bearers to create an understanding, and to strengthen the effort to protect educational rights of children during a conflict /crisis. </li></ul><ul><li>In this paper using the above theoretical notions we aim to explore the motives and the politics of using education ( sector) as a base / target by the parties in conflict in Nepal. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Analysis <ul><li>&quot;The people of Nepal have lived through far too much violence already. Without urgent action from the international community and all parties in Nepal, a new generation will grow up knowing nothing but bloodshed and conflict ,&quot; - Irene Khan, Amnesty International's Secretary General </li></ul><ul><li>( Amnesty International press release dated 10 Feb 2006 titled ‘Nepal: A decade of suffering and abuse’). </li></ul>
  17. 17. Field Evidence <ul><li>In 2006 there were 43 million children out of school in conflict-affected fragile states (Save the Children, 2006). Schools can be caught in the crossfire between rebel troops and government forces. Children are abducted, teachers killed. </li></ul><ul><li>The National Human Rights Commission estimates that more than 500 children have been killed in the conflict in Nepal. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Field Evidence <ul><li>Between April 1996 and May 2004, a total of 136 teachers have lost their lives in the on-going Maoist conflict while another 200 have left for urban centers seeking safety. </li></ul><ul><li>The Maoists insist that their Janabadi Sikshya (people’s education) be made part of the school curriculum and that teachers have to take training on it first. </li></ul><ul><li>Between 1 February and 9 May 2005, the Maoists attacked 23 schools resulting into destruction of many schools and injuries to children (ACHR 2005). </li></ul>
  19. 19. NGO Reports <ul><li>Hundreds of children have been recruited as child soldiers. While accurate estimates are hard to come by, </li></ul><ul><li>Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN), a National NGO, estimates that in 10 years of the insurgency 27,323 children have been abducted, while the state security forces have arrested 229 children. </li></ul><ul><li>From January to August 2005 the insurgents are said to have abducted 11,802 children while the security forces have arrested 17 children </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre [CWIN] (2005) Children in armed conflict. Available: http:⁄⁄ press_room/factsheet/fact_cic.htm. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Primary Analysis <ul><li>How and why were schools targeted in the Maoist insurgency of 1996-2006 in Nepal? </li></ul><ul><li>-Schools especially in the rural and remote areas were targeted during conflict in many ways. They were the sites of protest marches and political programs </li></ul><ul><li>-were attacked by both rebels and security forces having conflicting interests </li></ul><ul><li>-schools were used as barracks by both sides of the conflict. </li></ul><ul><li>As a result the right to free and fair education by children was violated in many ways. </li></ul>
  21. 21. why <ul><li>Reasons why schools were targeted were threefold. </li></ul><ul><li>First: schools provided the perfect site for military operations, because of their geographical location and their infrastructure. </li></ul><ul><li>Second: schools have a central place in rural areas, and are seen as the site for mass activities. They are the places were everyone goes to. Reaching the masses was easiest for the rebels from the school grounds. </li></ul><ul><li>Third: schools were seen as government structures that could easily be targeted. In addition, there have also been schools that were attacked or closed because of ideological reasons. B oth the respondents and the NGO reports believe that this reason was insubstantial as compared to the others . </li></ul>
  22. 22. How and why were students involved in the Maoist insurgency of 1996-2006 in Nepal? <ul><li>why students have been targeted are closely related with the reasons why teachers were targeted, namely the political role of students and teachers in Nepal </li></ul><ul><li>children are so readily available and cheap to use ( as child soldiers/ spies). Some of the respondents also mentioned that : </li></ul><ul><li>children are easier to control and to manipulate than the adults. Children are protected by International Laws/ Attention seeking by targeting children </li></ul>
  23. 23. Conclusion <ul><li>education was not an ideological target , but more of a tactical one in the case of Nepal. </li></ul><ul><li>Warring parties had a lot to gain by using schools and teachers. It was a sound and tactical strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>In order to combat this, and to protect Schools, Children and Teachers, these tactics have to be addressed. </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>Improving quality of education or providing peace-education will alone not directly help this problem. </li></ul><ul><li>those efforts to provide emergency education, or to declare schools as Zones of Peace can be effective if all warring parties are willing to co-operate. If one of the parties does not feel obliged to respect the Zones of Peace, the effort will be fruitless, as it was in the case of Nepal. </li></ul><ul><li>How can the educational system be (re)built in Nepal that ensures rights of the Children? </li></ul>
  25. 25. <ul><li>THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION </li></ul><ul><li>COMMENTS AND SUGGESTION ARE WELCOME </li></ul><ul><li>At : [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>