Understanding Education Decentralization and 'Sustained' Elite Capture – Explicating Cases From Two Public Schools
The paper aims at uncovering the practices of educational decentralization in Nepal
that started after the restoration of democracy in 1990. Though decentralization in
education in Nepal began with the aim of greater community participation and
autonomy to the needs and priorities perceived by the local level functionaries in
school, it has been subject to elite capture in its governance. Because of control in
planning, organization, management, financial liability and different activities for the
education system, the paper argues that practices of educational decentralization have
been shaped by the local elites who capture the local resources and power to operate
the school with their network and 'one-upmanship'. While arguing so, the paper is
based on the ethnographic case study of two public schools located in the MidWestern region of Nepal. Applying the Gramscian concept of hegemony, the paper
narrates the process of a 'sustained' selection of the School Management Committee
Chairpersons and shows how they negotiate and balance their power to sustain their
capture. The paper concludes that the informal mechanisms of individual attributes
such as trust and capital are playing an important role in their sustained elitism.
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