04 SES 02 C, Putting Inclusion into Practice: The parents’ viewpoint
A key issue in Nepalese education is the high dropouts and weak performance of Dalits students compared with non-Dalits. In the hierarchical Nepalese society, non-Dalits, such as Brahmins and Kshatriya are in the superior position and known as pure, whereas Dalits are in the inferior positions and are known as impure (Dahal 2003, p. 90). To understand the ground of such unequal performance, it is indispensable to understand the nature of the social field (school) and how social agents (teachers, parents, and students) are placed and act according to their positions (cultural capital & habitus). The research addresses the question: how is the capability development of Dalit students promoted, and/or hindered in the context of one public school in Nepal? To address this question, I attempt to find out what role family might play in how they influence Dalit students’ perceptions of educational futures? Theoretically, this study is framed by Bourdieu’s theory of power; Sen’s theory of capability development, applied at a regional level; and Koirala’s perspectives to be applied at the local level which is also accompanied by third world feminist theory. In this way, I will explore the limits of using European based literature and theory to understand educational inequality in the Nepalese context.
Overall, my research design will be qualitative and informed by a bricolage approach which applies an interdisciplinary, multi-methods procedure of data collection guided by the essence of the reflexivity (Kincheloe 2001) . Different literature (Creswell 2009; Merriam & Tisdell 2015) in the field of qualitative research inquiry has long argued that research methods are not neutral, and are problematic. Kincheloe (2004, p. 1) argues that bricolage is an “alternative way to address the challenges posed by such neo-positivistic and reductionist modes of evidence-based research”. Denzin and Lincoln (2011) argue that such challenges is addressed when the bricolage approach highlights the researcher’s reflexivity regarding research context (social, cultural, historical background) and embraces multiple methods of data collection and analysis appropriate to that research context. These methods are interdisciplinary, having diverse epistemological and theoretical assumptions (Kincheloe 2001). McMillan (2015, p. 7) argues that “we need to increasingly challenge the assumptions underpinning purist methodologies that often remain closed to the ideas of multi-methodological, multi-theoretical, and multi-disciplinary informed research methods”. The bricolage approach critically analyses power relations and uncovers their impacts on the knowledge production process. The data collection method in this research involved Focus Group Discussions, individual interviews, and students interviewing their parents. I conducted four focus group discussions with five-six students (both Dalits and non-Dalits) in each group, and semi-structured interviews with six teachers. Three Dalit and non-Dalit students interviewed their parents using a recording device. The main aim of having students interview their parents is to believe that students know their parents and their language well, and they can generate discussion with their parents more effectively and democratically than the researcher. As a Bricoleur, I aim to disrupt the power of the researcher by providing opportunities for the students to illuminate their knowledge/experiences. All the research foci address the gap in knowledge about, how parents motivate or demotivate Dalit students’ capability development opportunities.
This research is significant both empirically and theoretically. Empirically it will address a gap in knowledge around how teachers and parents may (or may not) be creating the opportunities for capability development of Dalit students in public schooling in Nepal. The research will discover the perception of Dalit parents on their children’s educational attainments and their relationship with the school. The study will find Dalit students’ explanation of their parents’ perception regarding their educational attainments. The research will find out how do parents perceive their children’s education? How do they illustrate their parents’ perception of education for girls and boys? How do they describe the relationship of their school with their parents? Theoretically, the research aims to disrupt the multi-dynamic relation of power and eventually draw a southern theory that illuminates opportunities for Dalits’ capability development in a public school. The research is significant as it draws upon Bourdieu’s notions of power, but in an attempt not to reproduce white European male theory, I will call upon southern and feminist theorists to work with and develop different politics of knowledge. By adopting a bricolage approach to methodology, I aim to provide fresh insights into understanding the situation of Dalits education which is of interest to European researchers, as well as those working in other global contexts. The fifth way in which the research is significant is to generate a list of capabilities suitable in the context of Dalits education in Nepal. Finally, the study aims to create a southern Nepalese theory about understanding what is happening for the Dalit.
Creswell, JW 2009, Research design : qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches, SAGE Publications, New Delhi. Dahal, DR 2003, 'Social composition of the population: caste/ethnicity and religion in Nepal', Population monograph of Nepal, vol. 1, pp. 87-135. Denzin, NK & Lincoln, YS 2011, The Sage handbook of qualitative research, Sage. Kincheloe, JL 2001, 'Describing the bricolage: conceptualizing a new rigor in qualitative research', Qualitative Inquiry, Sage Publication, vol. 7, no. 679-692. Kincheloe, JL 2004, 'Introduction: the power of the bricolage: expanding research methods', Rigour and complexity in educational research: Conceptualizing the bricolage, pp. 1-22. McMillan, K 2015, 'The critical bricolage: uniquely advancing organizational and nursing knowledge on the subject of rapid and continuous change in health care', International journal of qualitative methods, pp. 1-8. Merriam, SB & Tisdell, EJ 2015, Qualitative research: a guide to design and implementation, John Wiley & Sons.
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