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Education, Economic and Cultural Modernization, and the Newars of Nepal

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Abstract

The ethnic pride of the Newars, one of the ethnic communities of Nepal, is manifested in their veneration of their mother tongue, rituals, festivals, and inthgenous professions (Gurung, 2000). The Newars have a well-defined occupational caste system. For centuries, they used informal settings, which included workshops, ancient manuscripts, and interactions with the elder family members to educate the young Newars on their inthgenous knowledge and caste-based professions. Inthgenous knowledge was also transmitted and maintained through rituals, ceremonies, and festivals. With the implementation of a centralized formal education system, the Newars have gradually been losing their informal education system. Today, formal education has become a panacea for the variety of conthtions relating to inthvidual and social advancement, such as getting better jobs or being respected by the society members. It has also been deemed important for the advancement of democracy and essential to a nations economic and development interests. There is significant evidence that education has partially met the expectations of inthvidual, economic, and political development (Bowers, 1997). It has brought obvious benefits, such as an improvement in literacy rates (Norberg-Hodge, 1992). While Newars suggest that formal Nepalese education—adopted from the West and based on generalizations of culture, thoughts, practices, and contents—has broadened their outlook, brought awareness about female education, provided opportunities to thversify professions, and improved their social status, paradoxically, the education system has fostered economic dependency rather than sustainable development among the Newars (Shakya, 2008).

Keywords

  • Formal Education
  • Indigenous People
  • Indigenous Knowledge
  • Mother Tongue
  • Ethnic Pride

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© 2010 Dip Kapoor and Edward Shizha

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Shakya, D. (2010). Education, Economic and Cultural Modernization, and the Newars of Nepal. In: Kapoor, D., Shizha, E. (eds) Indigenous Knowledge and Learning in Asia/Pacific and Africa. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230111813_9

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