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WASTED POTENTIAL: THE BARRIERS TO EDUCATION FACED BY STUDENTS RESIDING IN THE SQUATTER SETTLEMENTS OF KATHMANDU By KALY RULE A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requir ements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Barbara Hicks Sarasota, Florida May, 2012
ii Acknowledgements This project could not have been completed without the strong support and encouragement of several individuals. First, a large thank you must go to Barbara Hicks, who is a huge pillar of support for al l students who come to her, and who has been a key to my academic success. I am greatly honored to have Nat Colletta on my thesis committee, as his achievements in the developm ent field have greatly inspired me. Tarron Khemraj, as my first advisor, steered me in the direction of the social sciences, and made introductory economics classes highly enjoyable. I would also like to thank Zoe, who has been with me through everything; I would not have made it without her. My sister, Kristin, is also responsible for my academic success; I look up to her in every way. I can only hope that in ten years I will be as proud of myself as I am of her. My Mother deserves the largest thanks, as her unwavering support and love have made me believe that I am capable of anything. I feel tremendously lucky to have a mother like her.
iii Table of Contents Acknowledgements Abstract Chapter One: Introduction 1 1 4 8 Chapte r Two: Overview of Slums and the Barriers to Educatio n 9 .9 19 .26 Chapter Three: The History of the Education System in Nepal 39 .. 39 .4 3 4 5 4 8 5 1 Post 5 4 Chapter Four: The Squatter Settlements of Kathmandu 5 8 5 8 6 1 An In ..6 5 T .7 1 Chapter Five: Conclusion and Policy Recommendations 8 1 8 1 8 5 References 9 2
iv THE BARRIERS TO EDUCATION FACED BY STUDENTS IN THE SQUATTER SETTLEMENTS OF KATHMANDU Kaly Rule New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT The purpose of this study is to ascertain the barriers to education that students in squatter set tlements face, with specific focus on those in Kathmandu, Nepal. After reviewing the general issues with education in slums and squatter settlements, the study turns to a historical overview of education in Nepal. It then goes on to discuss the specifics o f the squatter settlements in Kathmandu, including their history and general conditions. After identifying the common struggles faced by the urban poor, the study examines the specific barriers confronted by students in Kathmandu squatter settlements util izing other studies, newspapers, and personal observations The concluding section offers suggestions on programs that could be implemented to lower the barriers to education and increase graduation rates. ---------------------------------Dr. Barbara Hicks
1 1 Introduction The objective of this study is to analyze the disadvantages faced by Nepali students who are living in squatter settlements of Kathman du. Although an ethnography conducted in the 1990s highlighted the complicat ions faced by students in one particular settlement, no comprehensive study has been done on the general barriers urban poor students are facing currently. In order to fully understand the barriers one must first have system and squatter settlements, as the problems stem from these two areas. It is also important to have an understanding of squatter settlements and slums in general, as Nepal face s many of the same difficulties as other developing countries which can pr ovide examples of solutions as well. The Significance of This Study from residing in rural areas to cities. Cities offer hope of employment and higher standards of living, convincing many of the rural poor to leave their homes and move to larger urban centers. This trend has only accelerated over time, especially in the ies, whereas that percentage h ad risen to 40% by 2005 (UN HABITAT 2008, 2). Already, the urban
2 population in India, Brazil and China is roughly equal to the total population of Europe and North America (Davis 2006 5 ). Unless there is a serious shift in consciousness, or some cataclys mic event, the United Nations population will live in cities by the year 2030 (UN HABITAT 2008, 2) Many of the people who choose to move to cities are looking for employment, resulting in a demographic shift to mor e people living below the poverty line in cities. Between migrants and the high fertility rates of the urban poor (Lewis 2009), there has been a steady increase in the number of urban residents living in poverty. Rural poor who move to the city are unable to afford owning their own homes, so they move into slums or squatter settlements. In 2001, 58% of the people living in urban areas o f South C entral Asia lived in slums (UN HABITAT 2003 14 ). Based upon the increasing urban population it can be safely assu med that this number has only risen since then, resulting in a shocking number of urban poor. One thi ng that is certain is that the proportion of the lowest income people living in cities is higher than it has ever been before (UN HABITAT 2003). The amou nt of international aid given to address specific issues goes through trends based upon which subjects are currently popular in the media and among donors. Unfortunately, slums and squatter settlements have generally not been considered a hot button issue, and do not attract the same attention as issues in rural areas. People living in cities are seen to have higher standards of living than the rural poor, and therefore more aid for poverty alleviation is directed to the countryside, even The assumed advantage is lamentable for many reasons, including the fact that these are the people
3 who directly affect the functionality of a city. Several new studies have shown that improving the education of the labor force leads to a faster growing economy (Sharma 2010). Furthermore, as the urban poor population continues to grow more and more individuals find themselves without the same support from development aid that they wou ld have if they were living in a rural area. Future residents of these cities may find this choice to be a mistake, as the problems faced by the urban poor should be addressed before the number of slums and squatter settlements become overwhelming. If aid is used to create mechanisms for the urban poor to better their quality of life and escape the cycle of poverty the quality of life for all of the people in cities will improve, and the country will be able to focus more effectively on other development i ssues. Although ur ban poverty reduction is not a large priority of international aid agencies, many people do seek to aid slum residents for a variety of reasons. There are numerous NGOs that wish to aid slum and squatter residents simply so that they may lead better, healthier lives. Housing is considered a human right, as ensured by several international declarations. Article 25 of the Universal Declaratio n of Human Rights states veryone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being, of himself and of his household, inclu HABITAT 2008, 18). Target 11 of the UN Millennium Development Goals is to significantly improve the lives of at least a hundred million slum dwellers by the year 20 20 (UN HABITAT 2003, 141) However city managers also ta ke note of ways to improve slum areas as they are see n as a blight on the city A city overrun by slums is less likely to attract tourists and international businesses, and instead will have low te chnology
4 factories and workshops that utilize the nearby uneducated workforce. Improving the nutrition, and (Sharma 2010). Therefore, improving the educati on of slum residents can be seen as having many additional benefits Slums and Squatter Settlements Slums and squatter settlements differ in several key ways. The land that slums are built on is owned by some one, generally a slum lord. These individuals purchase undesirable land at a cheap price, and then allow many people to live in a small space to maximize their profit. Although the quality of the housing is low, the building structures are usually permanent and sturdy (UN HABITAT 2003) Squatter settl ements are built on land that is owned by no one, meaning that by default it belongs to the government (Tanaka 2009). The settlements are also built on undesirable land and, due to the ir lack of a legal right to be there, the structures are often impermane nt. People are reluctant to invest in their dwellings as they do not know how long they will be allowed to be there. The differences between slums and squatter settlements means that the programs aimed at aiding the people living in them must also differ, but the two are similar enough that there is also some overlap. When it comes to addressing the issue of squatter settlements and slums two main methods have emerged a s being the most popularly used: relocation and settlement improvement. Relocation is a method that was well accepted before the 1960s, although it continues to be utilized by governments even today. Usually a government removes a slum or squatter community and relocates the residents to another, more convenient
5 location or just pushes them off of the land (Sengupta and Sharma 2009) Although the government occasionally will provide the displaced people with some sort of compensation or housing to move into, this is not always the case (Tanaka 2009) Settlement improvement is a method based upon the self help theory developed by John their housing themselves, rather than to provide better housing at an alternative location (Turner 1967) Unfortunate ly, if this method is not coupled with some sort of arrangement with the government to protect the squatters the efforts would not result in a lasting positive impact. agree d upon by all members of the UN to achieve by the year 2015 (UN HABITAT 2003, 7) Education allows people to access better paying jobs, and gives them basic skills needed in life. Although slum residents usually have better access to schools than those liv ing in very rural areas, the quality of the schools is often in question (Lloyd, Mensch and Clark 2000) Since slums are generally self contained microcosms of cities, they frequently have schools that are specifically for the students living in the slums (Tooley and Dixon 2005) As working to make money to support the family is usually perceived as being more important than education, children in the lowest income bracket may not have the option of going to school. Squatter settlement students also have to face many unique problems with education, such as housing quality and issues with relocation. These barriers to education make it difficult for students living in slums to both attend school and finish their educations (Valentin 2005) Without education t he residents are unable to get better paying jobs, and are less able to send their own children
6 to school. This creates a cycle of poverty that is difficult to escape without some kind of outside influence There is much debate over how best to improve t he education quality for people living in slums and squatter settlements. One current popular theory is t o emphasize decentralization, which often includes supporting private schools (Tooley 2007) Most scholars recommend that communities have more say in the school systems, and private schools are seen as one way to achieve that goal By liberalizing the education system, states are perceived as involving their citizens more in the system. Establishing remedial schools in the slums, which are run by reside nts has also been shown to improve the retention and test score s of students (Ban erjee, Cole, Duflo et al. 2005) While there has been some research on ways to improve graduation rates of people living in slums, each country faces unique problems that mak e it difficult to generalize exactly what is needed to reduce the barriers to education that the students face. Nepal remains mainly an agrarian society but, after the Nepalese Civil War broke out, urbanization has experienced a marked increase as people fled the fighting (Tanaka 2009) Now, Nepal is one of the fastest urbanizing countries in Asia (UN HABITAT 2008, 2) Land has become very scarce in Kathmandu, causing prices to skyrocket (Shrestha 2010) The only land a vailable to the majority of low income people is the areas around the rivers in Kathmandu, as these lands flood during the annual m onsoon season. These lands are also desirable as they are near to many jobs, which cuts down Kathmandu does not really have slums, as most
7 of the urban poor live on un owned land. The lack of legal right to the land on which they live has created a lot of tension between the residents and the g overnment, as the government regularly and freely ta kes back the land when it is convenient for it to do so (Sengupta and Sharma 2009) The settlements of Kathmandu are relatively new, the largest one being only ten years old. They are also not as large as the slums and squatter settlements in othe r develop ing countries, and they are still very self contained The age and size of the settlements means that now would be the perfect time to invest in development projects in the se areas, as the money invested can be more targeted and help a greater percentage o f residents. Currently there are only a few aid agencies with programs for the urban poor in Kathmandu. As the settlements are not very large, most do not have their own schools for the residents. The majorit y of students attend school s in nearby neighborh oods, but still must face problems resulting from their living environment (Valentin 2005) The government has begun a campaign of destroying the settlements that are within the center of the city, without initially providing alternative land for the peopl e living there ( Sengupta and Sharma 2009; Poudel 2012d) Some students are forced to live in tents, without electricity or running water (Poudel 2012a) The quality of housing makes rain an ever present problem, and can make it impossible for student s to d o their homework. The quality of public education in Nepal is a lso a problem, not only for students in squatter settlements, but everywhere else as well (Valentin 2005) Parents will often sacrifice basic needs to enroll their children in the more expensiv e private schools.
8 Structure of this Study Thus far little to no research has been conducted on the barriers to education that students living in squatter settlements face, nor has there been research on ways to improve education for the student s living in the settlements of Kathmandu. This thesis aims to fill that gap in the literature by first determining the problems the students face and then exploring the options for improvement, culminating in a recommendation of policies and programs based upon the research. As the government is currently writing the Constitution, now is the perfect time to try and reform education policies. The first chapter of this thesis reviews the literature cover ing the history of slums and squatter settlement s, with special focus given to the barriers to education faced by their residents, and to programs that have been successful in lowering those barriers. The second chapter give s a short history of Nepal with attention to the development of the education al system. The third chapter focus es on the squatter settlements in Kathmandu, and highlight s the current barrier s to education that they face. Finally, the last chapter suggests recommendations for the government of Nepal to improve the educational opportuni ties for the students in the settlements.
9 2 Overview of Slums and the Barriers to Education In order to fully understand the barriers faced by squatters in Kathmandu, it is important to contextualize their experience within the experiences of tho se living in slums and squatter settlements around the world. The history of slums provides an understanding and a definition for the term s Examining the p rocess behind slum formation also sheds light on current dynamics as does an overview of government reaction s to slums. Next, research conducted in slums in a variety of countries illustrat es what educational barrie rs are faced by their residents as well as patterns of other problems faced by a majority of squatters. Fi nally, a review of programs that seek to increase enrollment and graduation rates in slums helps provide a basis for policy recommendations for Kathmandu A Generalized Overview of Slums and Squatter Settlements Currently, slums are seen to be an issue fa ced by the developing world, although it is difficult to measure the number of slums as there is no completely agreed upon definition (Lewis 2009). Slums have become a focus of international aid agencies: one target of the United Nations Millennium Develop
10 (UN 002, the United Nations gathered in Kenya to attempt to officially define the characteristics of slums, so as to better measure progress (Lewis 2009). With 80% of urban growth in developing countries located in slums, it seems likely that slums will become a larger focus for governments and international agencies in the years to come (Davis 2006). History of Slums papers describing poor quality hou sing with unsanitary conditions, located in London during the 1820s. The word also had connotations of places that harbored criminal activity and various disease s (UN HABITAT 2003 65 ). By the end of the 19 th century the term had grown to mean groups of poo r neighborhoods together, characterized by high density a nd crime rates. The Housing Reform Movement in England gave the label an official definition in 1880, which allowed for slum areas to be marked on maps for the first time (UN HABITAT 2003 9 ) As the types of poor neighborhoods expanded during the Industri al Revolution, the designation began to describe too many different types of housing T he term fell out of use by the 20 th century, as the different types of slums began to require more specific laws and language pertaining to them. Tenement housing and ov er crowded areas, rather than dilapidated ones, became the focus of lawmakers and the public. Although a technical concept ion of slums was only created in the 1800s, slum areas had existed prior to this time. In the 16 th century there was a rapid influx of poor migrants to cities in Europe which created a large demand for housing. As demand increased and supply decreased, l andlords used the opportunity to maximiz e the number
11 of individuals living in the areas they rented out taking full advantage of the market. The low cost housing began to clump together, as those who could afford to move away from the areas into nicer neighborhoods did. The rise of capitalism and industrialization can be credited for spe e d ing the creation of slums, as industrial pr oduc tion requires a large pool of low paid labor. During periods of economic growth large amo unts of poor quality housing were built to house migrants, and these areas then became slu ms when the economy slowed down (UN HABITAT 2003) The term slum only really developed in stage that slums could actually be identified against a general background of better quality housing, which had not been the case in the early phases of the Industrial (UN HABITAT 2003, 65). The general public in the 19 th attributed to moral defects and a lack of self discipline, and slums were seen as vast pits where su ch moral poverty bred unchecked (Lewis 2009, 36) Therefore, efforts to aid the residents of the slums mainly focused on ways to improve the morality of residents. It was thought that once their morals were improved the people would be able to lift themselves out of poverty. Mission s an d Sunday schools were formed in and around slums for this purpose. Poor houses and hospitals were also created, which were often much worse and more dang erous than the slums themselves (UN HABITAT 2003 65 ) In the late 1850s the National Quarantine and Sa nitary Convention in the United Kingdom helped to change perceptions on disease by acknowledging the i mportance of drainage, filth, excrement, and housing environment to public health (Lewis 2009, 36) The convention adjusted the efforts to improve slums, shifting the focus to improving the
12 living conditions motivation was partially self interested, as cleaning up the worst areas would help improve the health of the entire city. While their efforts did some good they did not change the general perception of slums to the populatio n; slums were still viewed as being hotbeds of immorality and sin. After World War I the concept of ghettos began to supplant that of slums in the Western world. As immigration continued to rise and migrants began to clump together based upon ethnicity than slums (Lewis 2009 37 ). Slums began to be viewed as existing primarily in developing countries rather than the Western wo rld. Defini ng Slums and Squatter Settlements The term has in some ways not changed much since the beginning of the 20 th century, as it still elicits a fairly clear picture for most individuals. Generally, slums are seen as neighborhoods, or collect ions of neighborhoods, that lack basic infrastructure and have substandard housing and dubious claims to the land they reside on. In 2002 a United Nations Expert Group Meeting was held in Nairobi, which demarcated an operational definition to be used in t he field. They defined slums as being places that had inadequate access to safe water, sanitation, and other infrastructure. They also have poor s tructural quality of housing, are overcrowded, and face insecure residential status (UN HABITAT 2003 12 ). Al though this seems to be a fairly cut and dry definition, it still allows for a lot of grey area in many cities. To better understand and define slums requires exploring the ir characteristics. These characteristics, as reported by the United Nations, are la ck of basic
13 services, substandard housing, hazardous locations, overcrowding, insecure tenure, minimum settlement size, and poverty. Although a slum may have all of these characteristics, not all of them have to be present for the area to be considered a s lum. Due to the fact that slums are stigmatized by most citizens and unwanted by government s the municipal government has little incenti ve to provide the same kind of services to the residents as it does for t he rest of the city. Sanitation facilities ar e often absent, making it difficult to find safe water. Slum residents may have to campaign to receive electricity and street lighting, and even then the governmen t may be reluctant to supply them The city governments are legally allowed to do this in par t because they have certain minimum requirements for residential buildings, while the slums are sometimes built with non permanent materials like cardboard or metal sheets. As the the government is not required to recogn ize the areas as places of residence. The poor housing quality and lack of infrastructure create living conditions that are almost unbearable. Open sewers and heaps of garbage are not uncommon sights in slums. These settlements are built on the cheapest la nd possibl e, which is land that is unwanted for a reason. The homes may be adjacent to industrial plants that pollute the air or waste disposal sites. In order to maximize profits for landlords and minimize costs for the urban poor, families will try to fit as many people as possible in one home. This creates extremely cramped living spaces, with very little room for other amenities. Slum residents also are forced to face insecure housing, even if someone does legally own the land. Governments may decide to relocate the people to beautify the city, or if they require use of the space. The residents have very few options, as challenging the government entails paying others
14 to represent them with money they do not have. The lack of secure housing gives resid ents no incentive to invest in making their homes more livable, as they may have to move at any time. Including poverty as a characteristic of slums is somewhat problematic, as some people consider poverty to be a cause and consequence of the slums instead of a trait (Lewis 2009, 48) Still, slums in many ways perpetuate the poverty of the people who live in them as the negative views about slum residents and social exclusion can make it difficult to get an education or find a well paid job. Squatter Settl ements differ from slum s in one key way: squatter settlements are built on land this is technically owned by no one and is therefore claimed by the government. Instead of a landlord buying large quantities of land and subletting it cheaply to individuals, squatter settlements arise naturally from migrants setting up their living space in an area of the city that is both near to their work and unlikely to be needed by the government (UN HABITAT 2003). This usually means that the settlements form in risky are asses, and in flood prone areas (Arimah 2010, 8) As the likelihood of destruction is higher than with slums, the housing tends to be built with even more temporary materials Why Do Slums Form? Slums usually form in two parts of a city: areas of decline and areas of growth (Cranby 2012 2 ). The slums that form in areas of decline usually arise slowly, with housing th at was once decent becoming run down due to lack of maintenance. Those who can afford to move other place s do, driving the price of land down and allowing land lords to b u y the area for a low price. These slums occur in neighborhoods that may once have been the heart of a city, but are now ignored as other areas are deve loped This pattern is
15 HABITAT 2003 35 ). Slums that form in areas of growth usually begin as squatter settlements, and may become legal over time or remain as settlements. The y form d ue to the need for unskilled workers in a city, most of whom are not able to travel long distances for work because of their small income Slums may also form in areas of growth next to recently built factories or waste disposal si tes, as the land is unusa ble for most other purposes Global urbanization is occurring at a frantic pace, with both the wealthy and poor leaving their family homes to move to cities. Urbanization occurs by a natural population increase, rural to urban migration, and the reclassi fying of rural areas as urban ones (UN HABITAT 2008). The urban poor are typically less educated about f amily planning than the wealthy and have limited access to affordable birth control leading to high birth rates (Rice and Rice 2009 762 ) Yet a subst antial amount of urbanization can be accredited to migration (UN HABITAT 2003, 25) A poor family may choose to migrate due to a variety of reasons. First, there may be a push factor making it necessary to find a new home. Natural disasters, such as ea rthquakes or floods, may destroy their home and make their land untenable. Heads of families may also lose their jobs, forcing them to find employment elsewhere. Political conflict, such as civil war, leaves homes destroyed and make s fields unusable from s alting or land mines better paying jobs, easier access to education, and superior health facilities. Overall, push factors tend to influence moving to urban areas far more than pull factor s (Rice and Rice 2009 754 ). Third, younger generations realize that there is very little chance of making a comfortable livelihood off of agricultural production. If they follow in the footsteps of
16 their parents they will y dependent on weather conditions, rural land is limited and its fertility is sometimes low or declining, land holdings are small, farm debts are high .. (UN HABITAT 2008, 8). T hese many factors make the choice of leaving to a city seem more appealing and hopeful than staying put. As land has a maximum carrying capacity, if a family grows too large the younger generation is forced to find work elsewhere (UN HABITAT 2003 ; COHRE 2008 ). As technology has improved and cell phones have become almost ubiquitou s in the developing world more and more rural people are becoming aware of the luxuries available in cities. They know that if they move to urban areas their ch ances of finding a job increase as does their access to education and health care. Some of the younger generations find that cities tend to be more fluid about social values, and therefore wish drome, as cities seem more face paced and interesting th an the monotony of farm work (UN HABITAT 2003). Finally, some families only send the part of the family that would be best able to take advantage of cities, like children who need education and working aged adults. That way if there is a bad harvest or an unexpe cted calamity the family still will be able to survive off the income gathered elsewhere. Re mittances or the sending of money back to a home country while working abroad, are becoming an increasing popular method of maintaining a steady income in the dev eloping world. The same phenomenon occurs on a domestic scale, with family members in cities sending money to relatives in the countryside. An interesting trend in recent history is the feminization of urb an poverty. The number of woman headed household in slums is growing, with the number becoming
17 disproportionate to that of families in rural areas (Rice and Rice 2009, 762 ). Many countries do not allow women to own land or a mortgage, forcing them to live in squatter settlements (COHRE 2008 11 ). Some w omen move to the city to escape a negative home situation, but others migrate simply to find better employment opportunities. If this growth continues it will be interesting to observe the impact on how slums function, and the programs implemented in thes e areas may have to be updated and changed. Government Reactions to Slums As the urban poor have become a pressing issue for cities all over the world, governments have used a variety of methods to deal with slums. Not all of these approaches have been s uccessful, and some can even be seen as being inhumane. Governments may pursue eviction drives to remove the urban blight, demolishing the homes of the residents. They do this in hopes that the residents will return to any rural homes to which they have ti es; however in the process they destroy what little these families have, making it exceptionally difficult to start again. This method was popular in the 1970s and 19 80s, as slums were becoming enough of an issue that governments were forced to pay attent ion to them, but were still considered to be only a temporary manifestation of economic weakness in the global economy (Arimah 2010 4 ). Usually this tactic is entirely unsuccessful, as the urban poor si mply move to a new location in the city, making that slum even larger (UN HABITAT 2008). Relocation, with a government providing alternative land for the urban poor to live on was tried in the 1980s and 19 90s, once it became clear that eviction alone would not solve the problem. Usually relocation occurs b ecause the government recognizes that the land the slums are located on was legally owned, therefore making it more difficult
18 legally for the government to simply demand the people move. The main issue with this method is that land within cities is expensi ve, making it difficult to find land that is suitable for relocation. Actual built houses are not always provided, and those that are do not always have infrastructure included. If a family is unsatisfied with the land offered they may sell it and move bac k into the city c enter, right back to where they started. Some states have taken to trying to build subsidized public housing for the poor to live in. However, the state usually does not have enough capital to provide housing for the entirety of its poor population, especially with urbanization rising at such as fast pace. This method saw success in Hong Kong and Singapore, where slum dwellers were moved to high rise apartment blocks, but mostly due to the small size and relative wealth of those countries (UN HABITAT 2008 21 ). In large nations with sizeable rural populations it is unlikely that providing public housing will ever be a feasible option, although it may be coupled with other initiatives to become successful. Another practice attempted by gove rnments is to encourage the private sector to build low cost urban housing. I ncentives are used to achieve this such as quick approval procedures and relaxed housing standards. Some cities have required that housing developers build a percentage of low in come housing out of the total houses they build. The main problem with this scheme is that these houses rarely target the lowest income bracket, instead favoring those who have at least some amount of capital. As with many government projects, many develop ers have also found loopholes that allow them to benefit from the incentives while not truly building low cost housing (UN HABITAT 2008 21 )
19 Finally, some governments have simply decided to ignore slums in favor of other issues. They turn a blind eye to the overall problem, instead only addressing those slums that become an issue for them. Approaching slums this way was very popular in the early 1950s, as most governments believed that slums were only a transitory problem, which would no longer be an issu 4 ). This view has obviously changed, but not all governments pursue this method willfully; many simply do not have the resources or ideas to address the problem in any sustainable way (UN HABITAT 20 08) Although certainly not a preferable solution, benign neglect does allow the slum residents to upgrade their housing without fear of interruption at least until the status quo is changed Barriers to Education Faced By Residents of Slums and Squatter Settlements The barriers that students face are caused from both social and economic factors, which combine and make it difficult for the urban poor to graduate. More specifically, violence, poverty, housing, and school quality all affect whether or not a student is able to receive a full, quality education from the government. Violence Individuals who are economically marginalized a re more likely to commit crimes, as they have a lower opportunity cost for being caught As slums are almost exclusively populated by economically marginalized individuals they often su ffer from higher crime rates tha n other, more wealthy areas of a city (Mudege, Zulu and Izugbara 2008, 100; Cameron 2010 vi ) The crime rate is exacerbated by the fact that governments are often unwilling to intervene in these areas, as the residents are residing on land to wh ich they
20 have tenuous rights at best. The high crime rates can make it dangerous for students to even simply walk to and from school. Female students are especially at risk, due to the chance of rape or assault (Herz 2006 15 ) If the act of simply walking to school becomes too high a risk for student s they will drop out to keep them selves safe. In many developing countries war and gang violence is prevalent both in ru ral areas and slums. Some countries face intense ethnic and religious tension, which is reflected in the composition of slums. If a student is forced to walk through an area controlled by an opposing ethnicity to attend school they may chose not attend at all ( Mudege, Zulu, and Izugbara 2008 110 ). Many developing countries face periods of intense violence and fighting that cause school s to close for long period s of time. By the time they reopen many of the students chose not to return, as they have found j obs or have relocated to escape the violence Even if the school does not close many teachers find it difficult to discipline some of their more violent students, fearing retribution if the student is involved with the conflict. The lack of ensured safety creates an environment that is not co nducive to learning and leads to students dropping out A recent study conducted in Nairobi demonstrated antity of educ ation 14) The home li ves of student s living in a slum have a large effect on whether they will choose, or even be able, to attend school (Abuya, Oketch and Musyoka, 2012). Domestic violence is sadly common in slums and squat ter settlements, with few options for a parent to seek help Children will have a difficult time finishing their homework if there is domestic violence, especially as the houses in slums are very small and cramped.
21 B eatings in schools for not doing homewor k are an acceptable form of punishment ; so the student may then decide not to attend school, fearing violence there as well ( Mudege, Zulu and Izugbara 2008, 110) The student may even decide they need to stay home and protect one parent from the other thr oughout the day. Violence in the home can also affect income, as usually only one of the parents is working and making money. If one parent is dead or the parents are divorced it will also limit the income of the family, which sometimes forces children to leave school and start working (Mudege, Zulu, and Izugbara 2008). Poverty Most slum dwellers are not able to find work in the formal market system of a city, and therefore are forced to work in the informal sector. These jobs are mainly intensiv e, small scale, and/or family enterprises that utilize skill sets not acquired through the formal educational system and produce low and Rice 2009, 755). In turn, the income of a family determines how much the parents are abl schooling has a high opportunity cost the parents are more likely to stop enrolling them. The cost of school, even the government run ones, can be too much for some families. These costs include upfront expen ses, such as school fees, and hidden ones, such as uniforms, travel a nd school supplies (Hunt 2008). The older children get the more likely it is that the parent s will need t hem to work to help sustain the family instead of attend ing school (Hunt 2008; Lewis 2009). Without education children are more like ly to become poor adults, faced with the same choice to enroll their children or to have them work, causing a cycle of child labor.
22 Uneducated parents also cannot offer support fo r doing school work, and often d o not fully appreciate the benefits of schooling (Hunt 2008). A thriving job market is actually negative for children at risk for child labor, as it is easier for the student to find a job and leave school. Being born female in a slum puts a girl at a distinct disadvantage for completing an education compared to male children. Families are often less willing to pay for their daughters to attend school, as they will move in with their husbands household s after marriage and th ose families will re ap the benefits of education (Hunt 2008 ; Rice and Rice 2009 ; COHRE 2008 ). Children with siblings are less likely to atten d school than those from single child families, but girls who are born first are the least likely out of any bracket (Huisman and Smits 2009 184 ). Older female children are expected to help take care of their younger siblings and then get married and have children instead of finishing their schooling. Studies have shown that woman living in slums tend to be less educa ted, are less likely to be literate and have lower income and life expectancy (Rice and Rice 2009 761 ). To this day, more boys are completing their primary education than girls (Herz 2006 12 ). Teenage preg nancy is a problem faced by low income families in both rural and urban areas, due to lack of proper information and family planning resources. Youth in slums usually do not have access to cost effective contraception, and are not always educated about family planning in school (Rice and Rice 2009). If a female student g ets pregnant her schooling is disrupted, often beginning when she starts showing After the birth are attending and causing them to fall further behind Additional ly the cost of a child and
2 3 childcare may make it unfeasible for the mother to do anything besides work or take care of the child. Even teenage mothers who have the option of returning to school may chose not to, due to social stigma (Hunt 2008 27 ). Housing Quality As governments do not legally recognize most slums they lack the same municipal services provided in other areas. These shortcomings can range from no electricity to no trash pickup. Lacking electri city can make it difficult for student s to complete thei r homework, or study outside of the classroom The land that slums are built on is undesirable, sometimes because the area has physical hazards. A slum may be built near a highway or large river making it a challenge for the student to even get to school (Lewis 2009, Huisma n and Smits 2009). The construction of the housing is subpar, making dwellings very flammable and vulnerable to earthquakes. Although these kinds of disasters do not happen all the time, when they do they can disrupt school for weeks at a time Being consistently healthy is a struggle for slum residents due to the poor housing conditions. malnutrition and hunger, exhibit higher diseases rates, attain less educati on, and have (Rice and Rice 2009, 750). Poor health is associated with later enrollment, which subsequently causes higher levels of dropping out (Hunt 2008 25 ). Many stu d ents he ubiquitous contamination of drinking water and food by sewage and waste defeats the most desperate efforts of slum residents to practice protective hygiene (Davis 2006, 143). Cholera, malaria, and diarrhea are frequent
24 pr oblem s in these areas that lack clean water (COHRE 2008). The residents are unable to afford healthcare or medication, so healing takes much longer. When health problems cause student s to miss a large portion of school they often have trouble catching up with the other students, especially since most schools lack resources for the student to utilize to get special help (Hunt 2008 25 ). The residents often do not have legal ties to the land so government s are legally able to evict people whenever it suits them. As the slum residents do not have money or influence there is little they can do to stop evictions For this reason both governments and private investors are hesitant to build schools within the slums. Governments do not want to legitimize the se area by providing services to them, and if the area is destroyed all the money invested by private investors is for nothing. This uncertainty decreases the schooling options available for students in slums, and can make it necessary for them to travel long distances to get to school. Furthermore, t he destruction of homes can greatly disrupt the schooling of slum residents, as they have to mov e or live in a temporary home. School Quality While trying to achieve education for all, quality is often thought as being something that must be sacrificed in order to develop a large quantity of schools. schooling decisions by the quality of their prospective school and Hitomi 2006, 4). If a family perceives that the school will not be able to teach their children the necessary skil ls they will need to make money, the parents may chose not to
25 enroll them, and instead just put them to work. The rate of return of school ing must be high enough to supplant the immediate income the child could potentially make. Yet, simply trying to improve the schools may not have as large an impact on of the statistical variance associated with school success or failure results from inputs that include the students and their economic situation. Therefore, attempt s to improve school quality must also take into account the communities in which the schools exist. Overcrowding in the classroom is a problem faced by many slum schools, and leads to variety of other issues (Abuya, Oketch and Musyoka, 2012; Huisman an d Smits 2009). If class es are overcrowded teacher s are unable to interact as often with their students, causing the quality of instruction to decr ease. If there is large teacher student ratio student s will often feel that their attendance is not noticed or important, so they will miss more school. Teachers are more likely to be unable to control their class if there are too many students, causing extra stress and fatigue which leads to high turnover rates If the school is in a violent area this problem is greatly exacerbated as teachers may begin to fear for their lives and stop showing up to teach (Mudege, Zulu, and Izugbara 2008). characterized by staff shortages, crowded c lassroom s and lack of resources (Hunt 2008, 33) Teachers lack pre professional training, and too few qualified individuals are interested in becoming a teacher. The teachers have low expectations of their students, and are not properly supervised or continually monitored for quality. The curriculum
26 itself is usually poor and governments are resistant to conducting major overhauls of their systems (Payne 2008). Many teachers are found to be off task when the schools receive random visits, reflecting their lack of motivation to be an effective teacher (Wagner 2010 744 ). Many teachers rely heavily on the rote learning approach, rather than an interactive or problem solving one. School administrators also generally do not have the opportunity for continual training, causing many of their programs to be outdated (Chapman 2002 19 ). Programs to Remove the Barriers to Education As well as identifying the challenges that students in slums face, it is just as important to look at what programs could be used to remove th ose barriers. However defining what makes a quality education is difficult, and programs must address both social and school difficulties. Several programs have emerged in the literature as being successful in their attempts to lower the barriers, yet eve n these have some drawbacks. The programs that are brought up most often relate to decentralization, privatization, incentives, school quality improvement, and community programs. Defining Quality Education In order to improve education for students in developing countries the quality of schools must be increased (Lloyd, Mensch and Clark 2000 Sayed 2010 ) Monitoring school effectiveness allows knowledge to be applied to improve the school systems, or to help improve the monitoring evaluation system itse lf (Scheerens 2010). Yet it is difficult effectiveness. In 2004, UNESCO published a Global Monitoring Report that highlighted
27 ation. It stated that the areas that have to be addressed were teacher leadership, focusing on central skills, a productive learning environment, high expectations for students, and appropriate evaluations (UNESCO 2004 66 ). The knowledge that a student gr aduates with can be broadened to include the tisfaction with their schooling and the social skills gained (Carney 2003 89 ). The most popular type of study that is used to observe school quality is through the use of an input output model, al so known as the educational production function (Kremer, Miguel and Thorton 2004) This model considers what tools a child enters school with, what materials a school puts into the student, and the outcome of the entire process. How much money is spent per student and teacher pupil ratio are examples of school inputs that are considered. The purpose of this model is to reflect many different variables that may affect the education a student receives. Although the facility of a school obviously does have som e effect on educational quality, most studies have found a lack of correlation (Wagner 2010; Scheerens 2010). Almost every educational measurement is challenged as being flawed and incomplete. Most a -rather, there are a variety of scientific approaches that can and will provide solid and credible avenues toward imp roving the quality of education (Wagner 2010, 755) The extreme variance in the challenges that nations in the developing world face make s choosing an as sessment scheme difficult. It is far easier to claim that a study is flawed, rather than overhaul an entire system. Furthermore, developing countries have a large percentage of between school variance even after adjustments have been included to account fo r background
28 variables (Scheerens 2010 361 ). Often, the cultural contexts are not fully considered when measuring school quality, and therefore cross cultural studies struggle with results. Decentralization Decentralization may not be considered a pur ely educational innovation, but it has begun to be applied as an attempt to improve the education system in developing from central level administration to intermedi ate level organization and ultimately to schools, often relying more on local communities for school 23). The purpose of decentralization is to give power over decisions to communities, who are more knowledgeable about the specifi c needs of their own members. By having the community invest its own money into the school it is believed that they will value it more highly, producing a better quality of education (Chapman 2002; Edwards 2011; Carnoy 1999; Scheerens 2010). When educati on is decentralized teachers are given the power to select which textbooks are most helpful, and school administrators are able to spend their budgets in whatever way they find to be most efficient. Administrators also have more power over firing, making i t easier to get rid of ineffectual teachers. D ecentralization does not mean that every aspect of education becomes decentralized, as the system has to be homogenous to some extent. The curriculum is still decided by the state, and nation wide testing is us ed to ensure that all students are roughly on the same page, as well as to provid e data on which school districts are struggling. (Chapman 2002) Decentralization became a popular method for improving education about ten years ago, and can be traced to glo balization and international development policy
29 (Edwards 2011). Globalization emphasizes productivity and efficiency outside of a large bureaucratic government, so the policy of decentralizing school syst ems comple ments economic decentralization and privat ization (Carnoy 1999). The World Bank began to publicly espouse decentralization in the 2000s, causing other development practitioners to follow suit (Edwards 2011 70 ) Not all academics view decentralization as being a particularly effective solution, as it does not guarantee an improvement of school quality. In poor communities that are unable to raise funds, the quality would naturally deteriorate. In most countries, the number of administrators is significantly fewer in public schools (Chapman 2002 26 ). Although administrators may be able to spend the money more wisely, if there are simply not enough funds to go around they will be forced to cut corners in some areas. Various communities may even feel betrayed by the government, seeing education as being primarily its responsibility. Decentralization also increases the responsibilities of employees of these rural schools, who may not have had enough training to be able to handle their new administrative and curricular responsibilities. The heads of schools would require more training to make the most of decentralization, but usually states are unable to pay for such training and therefore it does not occur. Decentralization of education is often pursued due to pressure from foreign aid donors, who d o not necessarily understand how much the system may be manipulated by local elites or used to exclude certain minority groups (Edwards 2011 70 ). Further, communities may not be able to make the most well informed decisions about money management, as the y do not work in the school (Chapman 2002, 24).
30 Privatization Privatization can be seen as a type of decentralization, but, as it has begun to be explored further, it has come to be considered a separate process from decentralization. Privatization occur s when the government actively encourages the growth of private schools, instead of restricting their expansion. Private schools are seen by most people living in the developing world as being of better quality and more efficient than public ones; encourag ing their growth also increases the number of schooling options for students. The heads of private schools have more incentive to manage the income of their school efficiently, and they are able to employ teachers based on merit rather than technical quali fications (Chapman 2002, Bray 1998). Private schools are also able to cater more specifically to certain groups of people, such as specific ethnicities or religious groups, giving parents more ince ntive to enroll their children. Low cost private schools a re for students who would attend public schools but are deterred for financial or other reasons. They also vary in quality depending on who is in charge, but have begun to show promise as an effective alternative to public schools (Tooley and Dixon 2005, 4 3). Elite private schools are occasionally made available to poor students through voucher or scholarship programs, although these have a limited impact on the larger picture of education improvement (Braun, Kanjee, Bettinger et al. 2006 62 ). Some govern ments are reluctant to support privatization at all, and may actively try to limit the number of private schools. Others follow a system of benign neglect, neither limiting nor supporting. If a government choses to support privatization, its agenda may be implemented in a number of ways. The heads of education may transfer
31 the management of existing schools to private citizens to run. The law can be changed to allow the number of private schools to increase, or can change the process of establishing a priva te school to make it simpler. Governments also may subsidize private schools, or permit private financing of government schools while maintaining control over them. Many consider private schools to be only for the very wealthy in a country; however rec ent research is finding this assumption to be incorrect. Small, locally run schools may be more expensive than the publi c option; yet in slums in India, Kenya and many other locations the number of these schools is growing (Tooley and Dixon 2005 3 ). Th e poor quality of public schools encourages parents to remove their children from them and give up a larger proportion of their income so that their children may attend a private school. As the number of school aged children living in urban areas continues to grow, many developing nations are unable to afford to increase the number of schools or teachers, decreasing the quality of education. M any parents in slums believe that private schools are far superi or to their public counterparts ( 4 ) This assumptio n, however, is not agreed upon by all development experts. The Oxfam Education Report and the United Nations Human Development Report 2003 both disparage the quality of these low cost private schools (Tooley and Dixon 2005, 4) They claim that the lack of accountability and resources leads to an inferior quality of service ( 4 ). Yet research is emerging that supports the beliefs of parents. A recent two year study teacher rat ios, higher teacher commitment, and sometimes better fac ilities than government schools (Tooley and Dixon 2005, 43) Furthermore, these children performed better on tests and teachers reported a higher level of job satisfaction than
32 those who taught at p ublic schools. It is clear, however, that mor e research needs to be done on low cost private schools as the Cato Institute is a biased source A criticism of these findings is that while such schools may be accessible to some of the urban poor, families in the very lowest income bracket do not benefit, as they cannot afford school at all or do not attend school because of other reasons. Although some of the private schools have voucher systems, or a graduated scale of cost, a study conducted in rural Ind ia found that the low over half of the sampled children, including the majority of low caste and Muslim (Harma 2009, 151) Therefore, organizations that encourage privatization must utilize other methods as well to be equitable and serve everyone in the slum community Incentives Using financial incentives to influence behavior has long appealed to economists as a method for improving a country as a whole, as well as the lives of individual people. It d oes not take much of a logical leap to see how this approach could be applied to improving the education of students in slums and squatter settlements. These programs are generally called conditional cash transfer programs, as they provide some type of pay ment if specific conditions, such as attending school, are met (Slavin 2010). Educational programs in the developing world have begun to apply this policy more, after finding support from many of the larger aid agencies (Slavin 2010; Sharma 2010). The the oretical framework for incentive programs is quite logical, as the expectation is that if a family is paid for specific results relating to the student, then they will engage in those behaviors (Bettinger 2008, 1). There are two types of behavior that can
33 control, such as attending school or completing homework. Incentives are used to offset a nvestment Both aspirational and volitional behavior incentives may be gendered, specifically targeting girls to help close the large gender gap in education that many developing countries face (Braun, Kanjee, Bettinger et al. 2006; Herz 2006). Finding a balanced aspirational incentive is difficult, as the gifted students may find t he criteria too easy, while the challenged students may give up on ever meeting them (Sharma 2010 8 ). S tudent s may do all of their homework and study, but some do not have the same ability to achieve as their classmates. Aspirational incentives generally have a greater effect on stude nts from higher income families than they do on students from slum areas (Kremer, Miguel and Thorton 2004 1 ). Although attendance incentives have the ability to i nfluence m ore individuals, just because student s attend more s chool it does not mean they will learn more. Students who are already motivated to attend school are doing so, and the incentive given may not be enough to offset whatever barrier does not allow a child to a ttend school in the first place (Slavin 2010 70 ) In 2010, an evaluation was undertaken of the results of various research efforts on incentives conducted in Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Pakistan. The studies considered had to first pass many inclusion criteria, such as the len gth of the program and the size of the standard deviation. The paper found that financial incentive programs helped increase secondary school attendance, and to a lesser extent, raised graduation rates (Slavin 2010, 73) However, none of these studies were able to document
34 an impact on learning, or future employment success (Slavin 2010) A separate study also found that cash incentives improve graduation rates (Braun, Kanjee, Bettinger et al. 2006 88 ). These results are promising, but by no means complete And while increased attendance is certainly one goal of improving education, both the quality and quantity of schools must be addressed in the developing world. Most of the evaluators for programs like these focus on how the incentive will make it eas ier for a student to afford going to school. Yet there are ma ny other circumstances that may deter a student from attend ing school. As families are usually the ones that receive the economic benefit, some students may not find going to school worth it for them personally. ue to cultural and economic differences between and within countries, especially between developing and developed countries, financial incentive plans that appear similar may be perceived very differently and may have diffe rent outc omes or the distribution program may enhance hierarchies within the communities themselves. Incentive programs are also challenged by cost effectiveness. When funded purely by the go vernment, these programs take up a significant portion of the budget that could be applied elsewhere. The students impacted are also limited to those who are being blocked from going to school due to finances, which does not address the many other barriers to education that they may face. Although financial incentive programs are attractive because of their simplicity and success at improving attendance, ultimately a student depends on a competent teache r to get the most out of school (Slavin 2010) Anothe r type of incentive used to improve education is teacher incentives. These are generally financial bonuses that teacher s receive based upon the test results of their
35 students. Some studies find that such incentives increase the test scores of students, alt hough it is unclear whether the students have actually learned the material, or whether the teacher just taught more for the test (Braun, Kanjee, Bettinger et al. 2006, 89; Kremer 2003 104 ). Teacher incentives also erode over time, as they come to view th e benefits not as a reward, but as a normal aspect of the job (Chapman 2002 30 ). School Improvements Perceived quality of schools has been shown to have an effect on school enrollment (Lloyd, Mensch and Clark 2000) Therefore, improving the schools quality must be a priority when removing barriers to education. T hree broad aspects of education have been identified as having the most effect on the quality of a school: hours spent in school, quality of material inputs, and effective teaching (Lloyd, Me nsch and Clark 2000 117 ). The school inputs may be improved in a variety of ways. The number of textbooks can be increased or texts can be updated, the teacher student ratio can be decreased, or new teaching techniques can be utilized. Some studies have f ound that increa sing textbooks and providing uniforms significantly increased the attendance of students, and even caused many students to transfer into those schools that had the program (Braun, Kanjee, Bettinger et al. 2006, 85 ). There is less hard evide nce to suggest that a decrease in st udent teacher ratio positively a ffects school achievement, although logically it would make sense that the more time a teacher is able to spend with a student, the more that student will be able to learn. Often, developi ng countries have a difficult time paying their teachers an adequate salary, which attracts far fewer quality candidates (Herz 2006 36 ).
36 Not all innovations are shown to increase learning, and unresearched educational gifts sometimes backfire. Flip char ts were distributed by a no n governmental charity in Kenya; however a study found that the flip charts had no effect on the test scores of the schools (Braun, Kanjee, Bettinger et al. 2006 77 ). Yet innovations like the internet can make education much mo re well rounded for students, when utilized properly (Chapman 2002 44 ). The main problem with implementing new technologies though, is making the installation and maintenance of them cost effective for all public schools (Carnoy 1999 72 ). A school must have a minimum standard of infrastructure in order to be effective at educating students. If a school does not have toilets for both boys and girls, girls may be discouraged to attend school (Herz 2006 22 ). Without a solid roof or walls a school must cl ose down every time it rains, making it highly inefficient. Therefore, programs to improve school infrastructure would help raise attendance. Girls may also be dissuaded from attending school s that only have male teachers (Herz 2006, 26). Women are underre presented in school administration as well (Chapman 2002 29 ). Affirmative action programs in teaching schools would help combat this divide. Community Programs As the barriers to education are not limited to issues found within the schools, it is logica l that programs in the community at large may be needed to increase enrollment and achievement. In some ways, the vast majority of urban poverty reduction programs can be seen as improving the education of students living in that area. Still, it is importa nt to focus on studies that directly measure educational impact.
37 Despite motivation to achieve in school, once a student falls behind, it becomes very difficult to catch up with peers. With many developing countries suffering from high rates of unemployme nt some aid agencies have seen this as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, by hiring unemployed graduates to teach remedial classes. A study conducted in India found that these programs were able to improve the scores of the bottom of the dist ribution by a significant amount ( Banerjee, Cole, Duflo et al. 2005 1 ) The program first identified struggling students, and then removed them from the larger class for two hours a day to be taught by young women hired from the area. A second, similar pr ogram was implemented that gave students a computer assisted learning program for two hours a week. This program was also found to be successful in improving the test scores of students ( 1 ). These programs are, however, limited by their costs. Many govern ments are unab le to implement them on a large scale. Health is often an issue that bars students from attending classes. After missing a significant number of days it becomes difficult for student s to catch up, and they may be forced to drop out. A deworm ing project in Kenya found that deworming the students in schools not only raised rates of attendance, but the community at large also benefited from a decrease in infection (Braun, Kanjee, Bettinger et al. 2006, 56). Many students in developing countries suffer from anemia, due to lack of iron in their diet. An NGO project in the slums of Delhi found that a supplement program of iron, deworming medicine, and vitamin A greatly decreased the number of absent children in the schools (Braun, Kanjee, Bettinger et al. 2006 80 ) Microfinance has become an increasingl y popular method for giving low income people access to credit. Microfinance usually takes the form of small loans given to
38 families that do not have any collateral to put up. Some banks that provid e microfinance also include low rates of interest so that they are able to easily and slowly pay it back. The success of micro finance programs has allowed many families to invest in their businesses, increasing their economic standing. Yet a recent study c onducted in India found that microcredit loan receiving households were actually less likely to send their children to school (Douglas 2009 ii ). This result may be caused by an increased need for their children to work, in order to expand the family busin ess after receiving the loan. Summary In conclusion, the barriers that squatter and slum residents face while trying to get an education are numerous and daunting. The urban poor have always experienced disadvantages associated with their living situatio ns; including violence, poverty, poor housing and reoccurring health problems. These challenges, coupled with government schools often being low quality in slum areas, have made graduation rates in slums and squatter settlements far lower than in other pa rts of cities. There are, however, various programs that could be utilized to increase these rates. Were these programs implemented the quality of life of squatters and slum residents would also increase, benefiting the city as well.
39 3 The History of the Education System in Nepal The education system in Nepal developed slowly, and was often hindered by the ruling elite attempting to reserve education only for their families A King had even been dethroned in 1901 due to his willingness to allow some of the lower class to attend schools (Caddell 2007). The education system still reflects the social inequalities of the country at large, as the caste system made Nepal highly stratified. Although outlawed, to this day the caste system plays an important role education system has become more inclusive, and the government has taken advantage of the international aid agencies to implement programs to improve graduation rates. Yet there is still a long way to go before the ed ucation system becomes truly equitable to all. The Rana Era The conception of Nepal as a united nation did not occur until 1768, when Prithvi Narayan Shah the King of the Gorkha region, decided to unify the k ingdoms surrounding him under Go rkha rule. He feared that the British, who at the time were expanding in India, would see the small kingdom s as easy targets to conquer. He was successful by first taking Kathmandu, which was a trading hub occupied by the Newari ethnic group, and then annexing twenty fo ur different ethnic based territories (Pherali and Garrat
40 2013). After unifying Nepal under his rule, he elevated the Gorkha language he spoke to themselves in the gover nment. The ethnic groups related to the government were able to benefit from the proximity, while those in rural areas had no way to influence the policies made. This tension became entrenched in the Nepali culture, causing issues throughout the entire his tory of Nepal. Prithvi Shah was correct in his prediction of British expansionism, and the Anglo Nepalese War broke out in 1814 over a border dispute. Although the Nepalese Army was able to fight a fairly successful guerrilla campaign, the British super ior weapons eventually overpowered them and the Nepal ese government made peace. Stil l, the military prowess of the Nepali army caused the British to hold the Gurkha fighters in high esteem, which led them to be called upon in times of need. The peace accor d meant that Nepal lost several territories, and it forced the government to allow a British Resident to reside in Kathmandu. The Rana era is named after Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana, who is arguably one of the most politically savvy rulers ever to g overn Nepal. Over the years the Kingship had become weakened as ineffectual rulers allowed advisors to have more and more power. In 1846 Jung Bahadur was able to orchestrate the Kot Massacre, which left the e new King rose to power Jung Bahadur took over the government, officially transferring all decision making power from the King to the Prime Minister. He then stocked the rest of government and military with his relatives, ensuring that he remained in powe r.
41 Continuing on a path made somewhat predictable by the method of his rise to power, government ruled the country through fear. Although nominally unified, Nepal truly remained very fragmented by the various ethnic groups governing their own terri tories with little interference besides taxation. A fragmented country was seen as being advantageous, as it would not be able to unite against the government (Caddell 2007 3 s eparate from Britain, and the continuation of his family in power. The second goal was accomplished by excluding others from education and formalizing the caste system. In 1854 the National Legal Code was formalized, which officially regulated caste relat ions. Naturally this code held the Rana family in high importance. Other families searched for ways t o relate themselves to the Rana s in order to gain access to education and government jobs that were not open to the general public. T hat year a formal tuto r began instructing the Rana children. Although gradually other children of high caste families were allowed to be tutored, harsh penalties were in place if lower class person s were caught attempting to educate themselves (Caddell 2007 6 ). Eventually, the re were enough students to open an entire school, and the Durbar School was established. The school was modeled after the English education system in order for the children, who would grow up to work in the government, to interact with the British Empire m ore effectively. As with Kings and royal families before them, it was not long until the Rana family began to fight among themselves for power. In 1901 Dev Shumsher Rana took over the government in a coup orchestrated by his side of the family. In reality he had little interest in ruling, and was surprisingly liberal. He established 200 Nepali primary
42 schools, which were open to all students for the first time in Nepali history (Caddell 2007 5 ). Although this move was popular amongst th e common people, th e other Rana s saw the opening of education as a threat to their power, so they ousted Dev Shumsher Rana after only 114 days of ruling. The schools were then shut down, illustrating how education was viewed as a privilege reserved for the political elite at this time. By the 1930s the rest of the Indian subcontinent began to move against the British rule in India. Although Great Britain and Nepal had signed another treaty in 1923 that reaff were still suspicious that N epal would side with India if it came down to a full revolt. In part to try and distance Nepal from its institutions and the medium in which School Leaving Certificate ex aminations were to be conducted (Caddell 2007, 5) Practically this did little, as Nepali was already the pri mary language of all government related papers In 1939 World War II began, which caused British India to call upon Nepal for Gorkhali troops to help fight in the war. Serving in the military gave many ordinary Nepalese citizens the opportunity to travel outside of Nepal for the first time, where they were exposed to radically new ways of thinking. Many even became literate, thanks to programs in the British Army. Although the government attempted to remain isolationist, the returning soldiers began to spread ideas that challenged the Rana rule, and even established schools that taught the comm on people to read (Caddell 2007; Bouwman 2012). Wealthi er students also began studying higher education in India, where they picked up new ideas about equity in the government. The combination of these two
43 factors created an atmosphere that was able to support a movement against the Rana family for the first t ime. The Restoration of the Monarchy and Establishment of Congress Feeling the pressure to change from many sides, the Ranas began a violent campaign to stay in power, executing many political prisoners they believed to be plotting against them. This cam paign caused even King Tribhuvan to flee to India in fear for his life in 1950, which ended up being the last straw. Widespread protests against the Rana fami ly, which forced the country to a standstill, resulted in the administration stepping down and the King being reinstated as the head of government. A governing alliance was then formed between the Nepali Congress, the Ranas who remained in key positions of government, and the King (Caddel 2007). As the Rana administration had been widely hated, the n ew government wished to distance itself in as many ways as possible. This policy of the new regime distancing itself from the old one, began a trend that has been followed by every government since then. The first step it took was opening the borders to t he outside world. Isolation was deemed to cause stagnation, whereas openness was seen as spurring development. Democracy, modernity and the interconnection between Nepal and the rest of th e world became the clarion calls with which the new leadership hope d to gain support of its (Caddell 2007, 7) and schooling was viewed as one way to achieve this goal. The post Rana period is the true beginning of mass schooling in Nepal. Schools were an easy target for the government to impro ve upon, as the current literacy rate was
44 at 2% (Kha nal 2011, 770). This period dependence, as the government began to rely heavily on technical and financial help from the United States Overseas Mission to achieve its educational goals. The United States, in neighbor. Following the United States lead, other aid agencies also began to invest in 16 ). The Nepal National Education Planning Com mission was then formed in 1954 to catalyze and unify efforts to make education accessible to more people. Even with the large amounts of funding that Nepal was receiving, the ineffective government was unabl was mostly limited to giving approval to open schools, distributing grants, and carrying out school inspections. Each school had a School Management Committee (SMC) that was responsible her recruitment and management, determination of fees, financial management, physical development, mobilization of resources and general superv ision and monitoring of schools (Khanal 2011, 771). The SMC was comprised of members of the co mmunity that the s chool served, although the government was still in charge of designing and distributing the curriculum. While this practice was seen as a way for the schools to be more responsible to the ir communities it led to the quality of schools in poor areas being very meager. Those in wealthy areas, on the other hand, were able to put more money into making a quality school. Since Nepali was the required language of instruction, many children who had not grown up in Nepali speaking households were forced to drop ou t, as they did not understand what was being said in school (Pherali and Garratt 2013 4 ). So while the
45 official policy towards education had changed since the last regime, becoming more open and inclusive, quality schooling was still out of reach for mos t individuals. The Nepal National Education Planning Commission developed the Nepal National Education Plan (NEPC) in 1955 with the aim to clearly outline the goals of the education system. The NEPC stipulated that education was necessary for participati ng in the international community, as a large uneducated populace would make Nepal seem backward by comparison. Education was also seen as being necessary for making democracy a success, so that all of the citizens would be able to participate in governmen t and have a national identity. The school s history curriculum, therefore, would need to increase nationalism and portray a common Nepali identity. Although not explicitly stated in the NEPC, ethnic languages would have to be dis couraged, as they were div isive (Caddell 2007, 9; Pherali and Garratt 2013 3 ) The Panchayat System Throughout this time, Congress and the monarchy had been fighting over power. To break the deadlock King Mahendra orchestrated a royal coup in 1960, disbanding the party system. In its place he began the panchayat system, which was a supposedly more by the monarchy, which had absolute power. Political parties were outlawed, and five ministers were appointed by the King to make decisions. Schools became a place to reinforce the new political system, and new textbooks were issued that glorified living in cities and marginalized rural and non Hindu groups (13). It also became required that
46 students si ng the national anthem every day, and display a portrait of the King in every classroom (14). As foreign aid continued to be heavily invested in the country, infrastructure improved rapidly. Suddenly areas that were very difficult to govern due to distanc e were easily in reach. The increase in roads made decentralization a possibility, as communication between the different regions was much easier. This restricted the a nd occasional grants in aid, and carrying out school inspections to check that schools were functioning within the broader guidelines and standards set by the In a move to please donors and be viewed as modern, the caste syste m was officially abolished in 1963 (Pherali 2011 143 ). Although donors did view this as a step towards equality, in actuality the move meant very little. The caste system was far too entrenched in society, and no attempts were made to make the government more nondiscriminatory. Donors also influenced the education system, as the government received funds to establish technical and vocational schools. By the late 1960s many students and political party activists began to protest against the panchayat syst em in favor of a full democracy. In response to the protests, the government released the National Education System Plan (NESP) in 1971, as an effort to re legitimize the regime. This plan brought schools back under control of the state (Khanal 2013 771 ). As with other plans, the continued emphasis on the monarchy and the Nepalese language reinforced ethnic and caste hierarchies (Caddell 2007 17 ). The NESP espoused the position that education, instead of creating citizens to contribute to the economy of Nepal, should promote the Nepalese identity, and assimilate
47 people into that mold (Pherali and Garratt 2013 3 ). It also marked a move away from pleasing donors, as government leaders felt they could be independent now that Nepal had many technical experts who were trained overseas. Decentralization, an idea emphasized by aid agencies, was abandoned in favor of a centralized school system. The School Management Committees that had been established in the 1950s were abolished. Control over schools was taken over by an Assistance Committee, which was an arm of the state. In order to spread modernity to the countryside, the government established a National Development Service, which required all university students to spend ten months in a rural area doing de velopment work before they were allowed to graduate (Caddell 2007 18 ). Although well intentioned, this program was highly unpopular among the urban elite. The program, along with other issues with the panchayat system, led to student protests in 1975. Wor ried that the unrest would spread to rural areas, the government ended the program abruptly. The government s continued efforts to remodel the state caused primary schools to be made free and compulsory in 1975. The state became highly involved in the sc hools, partially as an attempt to inculcate the students under the monarchy. Although examination fees, uniforms, and school supplies, which excluded many of the most economically underprivileged children from attending school (Valentin 2011 105 ). education policies, the large failures in the system saw the 1980s becoming tied more closely with international donors again. The United Nations and the World Bank
48 especially became influential with the government (Caddell 2007 19 ). After returning some administrative powers to the communities the government began to walk a fine line between app easing internationa l donors and trying to retain tight control over the education system. The failures extended beyond the education system, and the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist Leninist) was able to organize the wide spread unhappiness into a movemen t in 1980. In response, the government held a referendum asking citizens who m they preferred in power and, even though wide voter fraud was committed, the panchayat system only narrowly won (Caddell 2007 19 ). Other parties also began gaining strength in t he space provided by the weakening government, such as the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal. Schools became embroiled in the political turmoil, as they were viewed as potential bases from which to draw supporters Teachers went on strike in 1984, leading to very tense relations between the police and the protesters. At one protest police fired on students, killing several. Weeks later there were several bomb explosions and the severity of the response seemed to surprise the majority of the country. Many citizens became appalled by the violence, and tensions temporarily cooled off (Caddell 2007 19 ). The Movement to Reestablish Democracy In 1989 India imposed a trade embargo that skyrocked the cost of food and petrol. The sudden increase in living expenses reignited the frustration with the panchayat was headed by the two biggest outlawed political parties, the Nepali Congress and the
49 Communist Party factions, who at this point had a fairly strong base (Caddell 2007, 19). Finally bowing to the pressure, the government reinstituted a multi party democracy, and the Constitution was re gradual arrangements for free education, special provisions for the education of various socially excluded groups, and the possibility of primary education in the mother tongue (Bhatta 2011, 16). As wi th the other regimes, when the newly elected Nepali Congress came to po wer its government attempted to distance itself from the previous one. At least nominally, they were more accepting and inclusive of the different ethnic groups, and assented to the use of ethnic languages in local affairs (Caddell 2007, 21) The government a lso felt the need to be more accepting as many of the supporters of their movement had been marginalized people. Pro monarchy rhetoric was removed from school books, and children were no longer required to sing the praises of the King every morning (Pheral i and Garratt 2013 3 ). Although this policy looked good on paper, as with many other efforts very little changed practically (Caddell 2007 21 ). Nepali was still given high importance as the official national language, and the only language spoken in the government. Diversity was continued to be seen as a threat to national unity, so supporting it was out of the question. One way that this regime did resemble the old one was in its relationship with the international aid community. Receiving funding rema ined a top priority, as many of the government agencies only functioned with outside help. In 1990 the new government its dedication to improving the education system in Nepal Decentralization returned as the
50 suggested method for improving education, and was pursued through the aid of international agencies ( Bhatta 2011, 16 ). In 1991, with help from the UNDP, the government formulated the Basic and Primary Education Master Pla n. This plan outlined the steps that the government was going to take to fix the education system. After several revisions this plan became the Basic and Primary Education Project (BPEP), which was funded by the international community (Caddell 2007 22 ). Using the ideas developed in the 1980s, administrative centers with satellite schools became the government model. Many classrooms and schools were renovated, and a new curriculum was developed that did not emphasize the monarchy. An incentive program was also established to improve attendance rates of girls and students from the lower caste (Bhatta 2011 17 ) The Maoists generally wanted to gain support for their movemen t from the broad populace by pro posing a government that was more of a republic and less nationalistic. They also sought to improve the school systems and collecting fees from government school pupils, the cessation of compulsor y Sanskrit forced schools to end the practice of singing th e na tional anthem during assemblies (Caddell 2007, 24) Schools and colleges remained recruiting grounds for political parties. Although graduation rates improved, graduating became disconnected with employment due to the poor job market (Cadde ll 2007, 14 ). As more people began attending school education was no longer a way for th e upper class to differentiate itself Instead, the prestige of the school became a way to separate the higher caste from the general populace. Private schools were established t hat served those who could afford
51 them. The use of English as a teaching medium differentiated these schools from government schools, as English was seen as giving more access to higher paying employment and a way out of Nepal. The Nepalese Civil War Alth ough some gains had been made, the Communist Party Nepal (Maoist), a splinter group of the Communist Party Nepal, was never satisfied with Congress. Afte r the abolishment of the monarchy the King remained the head of the government, and anything short of a full democratic republic was unacceptable. They also demanded a new constitution, guaranteeing the rights of political parties. In February 1996, the Maoists launched a guerilla war against the monarchy, taking over a remote military outpost (Caddell 2006 Pherali 2011, Shields and Rappleye 2008). Partly bowing to pressure from the war, the government developed the Local Self Governance Act, with the intention of giving more power to locally elected governments (Khanal 2011). This act created three levels of government; Village Development Committees, municipality bodies, and District Development Committees (Edwards 2011, 73). The BPEP ended in 1999, and was considered successful enough to warrant a BPEP II, which continued many of the same programs. The BP EP II also included a more intense focus on decentralization and a strengthening of the partnership between the government and aid agencies. As part of this program a branch of government was established to serve as a liaison for aid agencies, creating a more unified effort to improve the education quality of Nepal (Bhatta 2011, 17).
52 In 2001 the government formed a Working Group on Education, which reaffirme d recommendation for decentralizing the schools by turning them into community schools (Bhatta 2011, 18). These recommendations were made official by an amendment to the Education Act of 1971, although how exactly power was to be shared was not clearly stipulated in the legislation. The adoption of this act marked a change from merely following the desires of aid agencies to making it an official mandate, even though the policies remained the same. For a while the war remained in rural areas, as the guerrilla army was not large enough to do any real damage. However, the id eology of equality that the Maoists were championing resonated with many marginalized groups, who then joined their cause. The widespread poverty in rural areas made the opportunity cost of joining the cause very low, and the Maoists promised a state that would combat the long time tyranny of the higher caste groups (Pherali and Garratt 2013). Schools were also used as places for the Maoists to recruit disaffected youth to their cause (Caddell 2006, 24). In some areas teachers and children were forcibly tak en to training camps to serve in the military (Pherali 2011, 146). In June of 2001 Crown Prince Dipendra allegedly went on a killing spree within the palace, killing nine members of his family and himself. The motivation was supposed illingness to let him marry the girl he wanted; however there is much speculation that t here is more to the story. His u ncle came to power, as both the King and Queen had been murdered, because he was conveniently out of town for the attack, and his child ren were among the few spared. Although contested by some, many dominant hand to
53 shoot. The new King Gyanendra was far more aggressive when dealing with the Maoist threat, a policy he had been trying and failing to implement while his brother was in power, and he increased the number of troops fighting in the war. The escalation did little to abate the attacks, and by November 2001 the government declared a State of Emergency. Fixing the e ducation system was one of the Maoists point tongue education, universal education and the closure of all for profit schools, explicitly linking the exclusionary educati onal policies and practices of the previous deca des to the outbreak of conflict In 2002 the Maoist Student Union called an indefinite strike on education until their demands for social and political changes were met. Alth ough human rights organizations became involved to broker an end to the strike, onents, and the Maoists refusal to back down, led to very little progress. Eventually, after school fees w ere reduce d and a Code of Conduct was made for pr ivate schools the strike ended (Caddell 2006, 2007 ) By the time the strike ended the war was in 73 out of 75 districts in Nepal (Pherali 2011). Although school continued somewhat regularly in the urban areas, many r ural schools had completely ceased to function. Still, the World Bank carried on with its decentralization reforms and established a Community School Support Project with the government. This project provided a significant financial incentive for a school to change into a community school, as well school scholarships for girls (Rayamajhi 2011, 8).
54 Post War Nepal In 2005 King Gyanendra took over full control of the government in order to to the war. Although this was a larg e initiative, the Maoists were too entrenched in the countryside that was difficult to access. By the end of 2005 a stalemate was called in order for the two sides to negotiate a peace treaty. The Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) was signed after much nego tiation in November 2006. Over 13,000 people had died, and many rural areas had been devastated by the conflict (Pherali 2011 135 ). Among other things, this agreement ended the Kings place of power and reinstated the parliament. After more negotiation the monarchy was completely abolished in 2007 and Nepal was declared a republic. Elections were held the next year, and a Maoist led government cam e into power for the first time (Caddell 2007) The new government began a major reformation program called the School Sector Reform Program in 2009, which is set to run until 2015 (Khanal 2011). This program, like the majority of education initiatives in Nepal, is funded by multiple aid agencies. The objective of the program is to continue to decentralize the educa tion system, and therefore to improve access to education. Schools are encouraged to become community schools, although this program has received more criticism recently as marginalized groups participated far less in making decisions (Khanal 2013 9 ). The program also aims to change the grade system to make basic education grade s 1 8 and secondary education grades 9 12, imitating the Western system (Wagle 2012). Post war Nepal has suffered significantly from the effects of war. The CPA guaranteed that the Maoist army would be integrated into the Royal Nepal Army, which
55 traditionally was run by high caste individuals with ties to the government. In 2013 there is still no agreed upon integration, as the Army do es not trust the Maoist generals in positions si milar to the ones they had in their own army. The deadline for a new Constitution has been pushed back time and time again, and the rapid turnover of Prime malfunctioning of st a gradual decline of public trust towards state functionalit y taken an interest in government and wishes to participate, little has been accomplished, leading to some wanting to reestablish the monarchy. Currently the Nepali education system has three levels. Primary level is from 1 5, lower secondary schools is from 6 8, and secondary school is from 9 10. Students in Nepal enter school at age six, with the aim of completing secondary level by age sixteen (Wagle 2012, 15) They then take the School Leaving Certificate, which is a cumulative test required to graduate. Without an SLC it is exceedingly difficult to find work in Nepal. After secondary school a student before going abroad or staying in country for higher education. International aid remains recommended by these agencies are generally followed to continue the flow of money as demonstrated with the rise of the decentralized school system. The lowest income bracket usually attends government schools, as these are the cheapest schools The middle and upper class send their chi ldren to private, English medium schools if they can afford it, or government schools located in nice areas if they cannot. Schools are categorized into three types: community aided, community managed,
56 and com munity unaided (Wagle 2012, 15) Community aide d schools receive money to pay for teachers and other expenses, while community managed schools also receive this money, but how the money is used is up to the community (15) Community unaided schools are usually private schools, which only get partial or no support from the government (15 ) The number of students who are unable to complete their education continues to be quite high in Nepal. The statistics of student dropouts a s reported by the Nepalese government is at 26 percent at the primary level and 6.5 percent at the lower secondary level (Wagle 2012, 16). A large proport ion of these students are girls and members of disadvantaged communities, illustrating the inequalities still present in the education system (17). A survey conducted by the Nepa lese government found that the majority of students dropout due to failing grades in school, or because they have to make an income for their families (17). A study conducted in the Nawalparasi district, on the other hand, found that household chores and t he cost of education were the primary barriers to education faced by primary students (17). Conclusion International aid agencies continue to influence policies and decisions made by government as the government wants to have continued access to their funding While minority groups have gained a lot of ground after the war, the higher caste individuals continue to have the upper hand from decades of education and privilege The government continues to walk a fine line of supporting ethnic minorities an d trying to unite the country as a whole. The writing of the Constitution, however, offers a unique
57 opportunity to influence educational policies for the better although achieving a fully equitable educational system will take time and effort from the gov ernment.
58 4 The Squatter Settlements of Kathmandu Nepal is one of the least urbanized countries in the world, but has one of the highest urbanization rates (Sengupta and Sharma 2009). Urbanization brings both wealthy and poor migrants to Kathmandu for jobs and an education and t he high price of land has forced many of the urban poor to live in squatter settlements in order to avoid rent. The earliest squatter settlements in Nepal formed due t o natural disasters; however over time mo re families began to move for political and economic reasons. Currently there are few settlements compared to the number in neighboring countries, but as the rate of urbanization continues to grow the problems associated with squatter settlements will become increasingly difficult to address (Sengupta and Sharma 2006). One such issue is the low graduation rates for students residing in settlements, owing to the various barriers to education that they face. Without serious steps to remove these barriers it is likely that Nepal will be left with large numbers of uneducated urban poor living in deplorable conditions. History of the Squatter Settlements Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 157 th in the Human Development Index (UNDP 2012). The majority of people work in agriculture, toiling
59 long hours doing hard labor for little profit. Urban areas have always therefore been attractive locations to move to, as they are seen as providing job and education al opportunities. Still, historical Ne pal was too politically fragmented to really attract large numbers of migrants to urban areas, so the earliest squatter settlements were formed after natural disasters like floods and earthquakes destroyed the farmlands where people lived. Settlements were villages made it easier to get help and find other work. The earliest government project established to aid people living in squatter settlements was the 1959 Rapti Multipurpose Project in the Chitwan District of Nepal, which was initiated to a id the victims of landslides in find ing new homes (Sengupta and Sharma 2006, 1 09). Still, t here was no larger, overarching government bo dy dedicated to aiding victims. In 1964 the government passed the Land Reform Act, which allowed peasant tenants fifty percent of crops, one fourth of the total land they worked, and the right to pass land on to their children. This act greatly improved the lives of those peasants who were already tied to land, alth ough it made finding work for landless peasants much more difficult (109). Overall migration slowed after this act, but a small proportion of landless peasants who were among the poorest people, began moving to cities to find work. Nepali has no word for is sukumbasi which means landless people. In an interesting example of how language has shaped government policy, this definition has meant that the government places residents of squatter settlements in two categories: reside nts who have no ties to any other land, and those who do ( Valentin 2005, 37 ). Ignoring the justifications for why the family has moved to the
60 city in the first place, the government has been unwilling to offer support to families with outside land ties (Se ngupta and Sharma 2006, 151). The government believes that those with land should simply move back to their roots, and not receive any compensation for their city homes during relocation projects. a massive exodus from remote rural areas to u rban centres to escap e from violence and extortion (Sengupta and Sharma 2006, 109) Both the poor and wealthy were affected by the fighting, but only families with a high enough income could afford housing within the city (Shr estha 2010, 85) As demand for housing in Kathmandu increased the land prices also increased, making it progressively more difficult for the urban poor to find affordable housing. Those who could not find anything in their price range often joined existing squatter settlements (Valentin 2005 37 ). The number of settlements doubled between 1990 and 2000, and the population grew three times larger (Sengupta and Sharma 2009, 36). As the size of the settlements grew, the government began to take more action t o address them. The National Plan of Action in 1996 was the first housing plan in Nepal, and was prepared specifically for the UN HABITAT Summit (Tanaka 2009). The proposal included a plan to upgrade the living situations and infrastructure of the existing settlements, which was justified as being necessary to make the city safer. The plan illustrates the negative view that the government had o s overall opinion that the residents of these settlements were criminals. Although Nepal presented this plan of action to the world, the government took practically no steps to aid the settlements and it appears that the plan was little more than a public relations move (147).
61 Lumanti is arguably the most influential non profit organi zation when looking at the history of squatter settlements. Formed in 1996 after the founder saw problems in the slums of India, Lumanti began championing the rights of squatters and started programs to improve the lives of the people in the settlements. A s the vast majority of squatters biggest efforts was to mobilize and connect the communities so as to negotiate better with the municipal government (Sengupta and Sharma 2006). Lumanti and several other organizations effort s led to the creation of the Society for Preservation of Shelter and Habitat Nepal (SPOSH Nepal) (Limbu 2012, 1). Although not outright illegal in Nepal, squatting is against civil law, making it e asy for the government to deman d the removal of residents (Sengupta and Sharma 2006 117 ). In 2001 SPOSH Nepal was able to convince the mayor of Kathmandu to sign an agreement guaranteeing that squatters would not be relocated without proper compensation (Limbu 2012 1 ). Unfortunately the government has usually been able to circumvent this families own land in other areas of Nepal. Still, SPOSH Nepal has been able to utilize the squatter s network to negotiate rights, filing court cases for them when they feel they have been wronged in some way (1). The Current State of the Settlements Kathmandu, as the capital and by far the largest ci ty in Nepal, is the main destination for internal migration. Pokhara, a resort town located next to a large lake, is the second largest city and has also begun to accumulate small squatter settlements.
62 Kathmandu is the historical trading center of the coun try, which coupled with it being the location of the government, has always been the first place to get new technology. It was also one of the few places in Nepal that was mostly untouched by the war. Most of the squatter settlements are located along ri vers and lowlands, as these places are usually flooded during monsoon season and are therefore not owned by anyone. The rivers are also desirable as they provide access to water and jobs. The Bagmati, Bisnumati, and Rundramati rivers cut through the cente r of Kathmandu, causing the areas around them to have many opportunities for employment. Living in the heart of the city means that there is cheap and plentiful transportation options, which is a large enticement to reside there as major disincentive to settlement in outlying areas, particularly for women and elderly people, though cycling to work is common among ma le members in these settlements (Sengupta and Sharma 2006, 116) The type of housing and access to infrastructure of a settlement is directly correlated with the length of time that the settlement has existed, as well as the number of times the settlement has been rebuilt (Sengupta and Sharma 2006 113 ). Because the land s they are b uilt on are prone to flooding, if there is particularly severe rains settlement s can be completely washed away. The government also periodically attempts to relocate settlements, making the residents feel very insecure about their homes and decreasing their desire to put effort into improving t hem. Those settlements that have existed for long periods of time usually have permanent and semi permanent building s and shops, while the newer ones are more similar to tent cities (Acharya 2010 186 ). Unlike other developing countries, the overwhelmi ng majority of buildings in Kathmandu are privately owned, totaling ninety eight percent of the total constructed
63 housing (Sengupta and Sharma 2006 112 ). Government public housing has never been considered as a way of providing homes to low income residen ts, so the urban poor must build their own homes or pay a private contractor to do it for them. The high cost of land branch of government that serves to find and sell land che aply for political and natural disaster refugees, is not operating in Kathmandu at all (113). In 2001 Lumanti conducted a survey of 37 squatter settlements in Kathmandu and found that 6 7 percent of t heir residents were without adequate water supply, and only about half had access to toilets (Sengupta and Sharma 2009, 37). About two thirds of t he respondants worked in the informal labor sector, and only about 1.8 percent of people had a higher secondary educa tion, which is equivalent to a high s chool education in t he United States (37). Most work involved vending, construction work, and unskilled object repair. A nother study by Dahal found that 6 4 percent of households in squatter settlements in Kathmandu were migrants from outside of the valley, mostly from the central hills and mountain regions ( 2011, 33). This study somewhat contradicts the popular assumption that war has been a primary cause for migration, as they found that only three percent of people reported that they migrated because of the conflict (34). Lumanti rep orted that in 2008 there were 4 5 concentrated areas of poor, with about highly vulnerable in terms of river pollution and flood, poor sewage and drainage, health and sanitat ion, congest ed and narrow lanes (35)
64 The study found that many of the urban poor are involved in radical politics, believing the promises made by the parties that if they were to come to power they would provide a better life for the people (Dahal 2011 35 ). As wit h slums in other countries, the community has very little access to credit, although about 4 0 percent of households were members of a local social and community organization, including those centered on savings and credit (36). Caste and ethnic ties are extremely important in the community for finding work and having access to specific cooperatives (36). These ties also have an effect on the level of income a family makes, with the Janajati ethnic group making the least amount (39). Mirroring slums and squatter settlements in other countries, the study found that income greatly depended on the age, level of education, and gender of the family members (Dahal 2011). Female headed households were found to be economically poorer, as women find it more diffi cult to find work (37). Few famili es worked in foreign employment, usually because of their inability to speak English (40). Work was often seasonal, making it difficult for families to maintain a sustainable income and the me was spent on food and fuel, with transportation and education making up only about thirty percent of expenditures (40). The low income of most residents has made it difficult for parents to send their children to private hospitals or schools, so reside nts rely on government schools and local health posts to serve their needs. It is popularly believed that c ompared to the number of organizations dedicated to helping the rural poor, only a handful of social organizations work within the settlements, which may limit the scope of many projects pursued. However, the small size of the settlements may have aided the successfulness of
65 campaigns to increase awareness about savings, as there are fewer people to impact (Dahal 2011). An In depth Look at Three Settl ements As there are very few studies that look at the squatter settlements of Kathmandu as a collective, and none that do in depth, it is in some ways easiest to look at three examples that exemplify the settlements. Shankhamul is an example of a resettle ment project that has negatively impacted the residents in all ways, including schooling, while the Ramaghat settlement has been influenced less by the government. Finally, the Kirtipur Housing Project illustrates a relocation project that is widely consid ered to have been successful (Sengupta and Sharma 2009, 34). Shankhamul th anniversary park. A survey of the residents conducted by Acharya found that 6 0 percent of the peop le had migrated to the area due to poverty and lack of employment in rural areas (2010, 188). The average household size was 5.3 people per family, with roughly equal numbers of men and women (188). Perhaps due to the age of the settlement, the literacy ra te was quite high, with 8 6 percent male and 6 5 percent female residents being literate, although the majority of people worked in the labor sector (188). Predictably, there are low levels of female education, and high rates of family violen ce against women (188). Due to the age of the settlement, about 9 0 percent of residents live in semi permanent housing and have access to a well for drinking water, although only about half
66 have access to toilet facilities (Acharya 2010, 189). The ma jority of people had access to electricity, and owned a television (189). 9 0 percent of respondents said that education was very important, although many were forced to send their children to work instead of school due to their economic situation (190) When the Kathmandu Municipal government original ly chose this location for the UN park, only a handful of families resided on the land, yet these families were vocal enough to halt construction (Sengupta and Sharma 2009, 35) As there appeared to be lit tle incentive to build the park, the number of residents swelled to be about 1,000 people (Poudel 2012d, 1) However in 2012, w ithout a concrete plan and little prior warning besides a few flyers, the government razed the houses in the settlement, includin g shops and several smaller schools (Poudel 2012b, 1) Some residents were even fired on with rubber bullets and tear gas when they attempted to stop the clearing of their homes (Poudel 2012a 1 ). The residents protested, shutting down a bridge that is cr ucial for traffic in Kathmandu Bowing to the pressure this protest created, t he government agreed to find a new location for them to live, but have found resistance from all the planned new housing sites as they demand that infrastructure be put in place before moving the squatters (Sharma 2012, 1) While the negotiations continue d the police originally were taking down the temporary tents the residents lived in every morning, forcing residents to rebuild them ever y night (Poudel 2012d 1 ). Once monsoon season began and the negotiations appeared to be going nowhere the police stopped this practice. Currently, residents are living in tents built out of various materials, such as umbrellas and signs.
67 There is one water pump, no electricity or toilets, and one informal pr imary school run by volunteers. Ramaghat In the 1990s Katherine Valentin took up residence in the Ramaghat squatter had migrated to Kathmandu from ru ral farming villages in the 1980s ( Valentin 2005, 36). At first the families moved from place to place, renting small apartments, before settling in an unoccupied piece of land next to the river in 1990 (37). Most chose to move to the settlement to avoid p aying rent, as the price of land was steadily increasing during this time (36) Once the settlement was established it began to attract amenities, which in turn attracted more people. Like most of the other settlements in Kathmandu, Ramaghat almost doubl ed in size from the early 19 90s to 1999 (Valentin 2005, 38). As the settlement increased in size and age the housing gradually became more permanent, and people even began to fence off their homes so as to claim ownership. Although electricity was provided for the area in 1994, not all families were initially able to afford the extra cost. There were two water pumps and a well donated by Lumanti (39). The majority of families had multiple children, as child mortality makes it advantageous to have large fam ilies ( Valentin 2005, 39). The families retained close ties to their paternal homes in rural areas, frequently visiting for festivals (40). Grandparents typically remained in the villages, as they cannot find work in the city (39). In terms of work, the ajority of males were engaged in day laboring, trade and crafts such as tailoring and carpentry, while females worked mainly as part time servants in middle and
68 (44). Valentin found that caste had very little to do with who had the w ell paid jobs, and children from every caste played together in community spaces (44). As this settlement is located on land that has no connection to any government projects residents have enjoyed a relatively peaceful existence with little interference by the government. The Kirtipur Housing Project The Kirtipur Housing Project (KHP) is widely considered to be the only successful squatter relocation project in Nepal, and many call for the government to follow this example in the future was well (Sengu pta and Sharma 2009, 34) In 1969 the Kathmandu Valley Physical Development Plan was conceived to address traffic problems, which included a plan for a road to follow the Vishnumati River banks and connect to Ring Road. At this point in time there were alr eady three squatter communities residing in the area where t he road was planned to be built; one ha d even been established in 1952 ( 37 ) In the time it took for the government to actually begin work, two new communities were formed, one in 1993 and the oth er in 2000. With these new additions the land now was occupied by 142 households ( 37). After receiving an official eviction notice in the early 2000s, the squatter communities went to Lumanti to fight for their rights The first step that Lumanti took was to put up resistance to demolition and apply pressure on the government to negotiate with the communities. They applied pressure through a variety of methods, including evolve in to a formidable force (Sengupta and Sharma 2009, 38) Through these efforts the issue
69 gradually became known to the wider public, which in turn put more stress on the government to negotiate. Bowing to pressure, the government agreed to work with the co mmunities. The residents demand ed compensation for moving as well as a place to relocate to. The government tentatively agreed to both stipulations but with the caveat that only people who were true squatters be included. Residents surveyed themselves a nd the list was verified after income details. This list was then talli (Sengupta and Sharma 2009, 38) Along with people who owned property, famili es whose income was over 30 00 rupees were also not included Out of the 142 households that were living in the area it was determined that only 62 of them were genuine squatters. Furthermore, 32 households decided to opt out of the process for various rea sons. This left the government with a much more manageable number of 30 houses that needed relocating and qualified for a compensation package (Sengupta and Sharma 2009, 38) While the government had previously agreed to the negotiation, now that the media coverage had died down Lumanti found it very difficult to actually get the government to follow through. This led to a renewed campaign through television and print, which now included images of the houses being bulldozed down ( 38 ) Finally, after much t Mayor of Kathmandu agreed in principle to a relocation scheme. He also offered rental (Sengupta and Sharma 2009, 38) After the scheme was agreed upon Lumanti then had to secure more
70 sour ces of funding. Utilizing funds from other non profit agencies and the Kathmandu municipal government, Lumanti established the Urban Commu nity Support Fund (USCF) in 2003 (39) This money was then applied to purchasing 32, 856 square fee t of land in Paliphal, Kirtipur (Sengupta and Sharma 2009) The choice of location took into account a variety of preferences. First, the residents had some input into where th ey would want to be relocated Seco nd, the land had to affordable so that the residents would not be burdened by a tremendous amount of debt after moving. Third, the location could not be too far away from sources of employment or else the money saved by a cheap location would be lost by th e increase in transportation costs to and from work (39) While it could not be too far away from the cities facilities and communities it was also important to cho o se a location that would not upset the people in the area, as moving the community there wo uld nega tively impact the value of land ( 39 ) The houses ended up costing either 330,000 rupees or 350,000 rupees depending on the location of the toilets (Sengupta and Sharma 2009 40 ) It was decided that families must pay back 2000 rupees per month fo r a period of 15 years, with an interest rate of three percent for the beneficiaries. As of 2011, Lumanti reports that no families have defaulted on their loan. Although the residents of the KHP report longer commute times, the majority feel satisfied with their housing and are happy that they have moved, although there has been no follow up conducted on the status of the other squatters who moved to alternative areas. Compared to the housing in the squatter settlements around Kathmandu, the buildings are f ar superior and even have large community spaces for
71 gardens and meeting. As the residents now own their homes, they also are no longer considered to be squatters by the government. The Barriers to Education Faced by the Students Living in the Settlements The housing and social conditions of the squatter settlements of Kathmandu have affected the students who reside in them in many negative ways. Domestic violence is unfortunately common within the settlements, which can make finishing homework a struggle (Oshiro, Poudyal, Poudel et al. 2011). Many students are forced to resort to working, instead of attending class, because of the poverty in which they live (Valentin 2005). The poverty faced by the majority of settlement residents also makes investing in decent housing an impossibility, which can negatively impact attaining an education (Poudel 2012a). The historical social conditions of Nepal have also made graduating difficult for girls and students from low castes (Levine 2006). Violence The most rece nt source of widespread violence in Nepal was the Nepali Civil War which disturbed schooling both within Kathmandu and in rural areas. The greatest issue was with private schools, where teachers received threats from Maoists, who felt that private schools were a symbol of classism (Pherali 2011 137 ). Many were forced to shut down during the conflict, although t hese schools catered to both the urban and rural elite, so the urban poor were not affected (Caddell 2006) However, the 2002 Maoist Student Uni on strike did affect the government schools that the squatters attended by shutting them down and thus disrupting schooling. Although no empirical study was conducted after the schools reopened, research
72 conducted in slums in other countries have found th at many students choose not to return to school after a period of disruption, as they have found jobs in the interim which seem to provide more benefits than schooling ( Mudege, Zulu, and Izugbara 2008 ). It is therefore logical to conclude that the conflict had a negative impact on education in the settlements. Although schooling was disturbed somewhat, the fact that there was never armed conflict in Kathmandu meant that the schools in the city did not face some of the challenges other schools located in squ atter settlements of similar countries engaged in war do. Domestic violence, on the other hand, is very much a reality in the squatter settlements of Nepal prevalence of physical violenc e by the husband was 33.8% among the urban poor majority of squatters have migrated from areas all over Nepal, the women do not have the same kinship ties as they did in the small villages they lived in (2074) They also gave wives a place to escape the wrath of their husbands on particularly bad occasions. Without the kinship ties, the women in squatters settlements become more vulnerable to domestic violence (2074) Due to t heir lack of legal ties to their land, squatters are denied government services and political recognition. This lack of legal status makes it somewhat impossible for a woman in a settlement to bring charges against her husband, although recourse to the leg al system is uncommon for Nepalese women even among those with political power, due to the culture (Acharya 2010, 188) The size of the homes in settlements make s it impossible for the children to escape the violence, making it difficult for them to
73 comple te their homework. As corporal punishment is still legal in schools, a student may not attend out of fear for the beatings they may receive for not finishing their homework, eventually causing them to drop out (Wagle 2012, 55) Poverty The residents livi ng in the squatter settlements would rather not be faced by the challenges that are inherent to their living situation, but are unable to afford other housing for various reasons. Therefore, the majority of families living in the squatter settle ments and s lums of Kathmandu have a low socioeconomic status The actual definition of urban poverty is debated in Nepal, however families who make les s than 12,000 rupees per year are widely accepted as being poor ( Dahal 2011, 33 ). In Kathmandu, determining exac tly which specific reason caused a student to drop out of school is difficult, as there are marriage, or feelings of discomfort from not conforming to the academi c or socia l standards of school (Valentin 2005, 98) The poverty faced by most means that not working is not an option for many children. As the school schedule is inflexible, and for the most part uniform among government schools, the children find it im possible to attend school at all. In the settlements few children work full time, but instead are needed to take care of the house and watch younger siblings while their parents are at work (Valentin 2005 101 ) As they get older the most common forms of w mostly as with domestic work, factory work, street vending and other activities such as ragpicking or collecting left over fruits and vegetables in the markets for consumption at home (Valentin 2011, 6). These activities can be done before and after school, allowing
74 the child to attend for a period of time. However, as the student must sacrifice all of their breaks and time after school when they should be doing home work, many students fall behind and decide to drop out to work more hours. In some families with multiple children the parents may be forced to cho o se which child they think will benefit the most from school and send only that one while the siblings work as they cannot afford to send all of them. O ften this means that daughters are far less likely to be educated, as after marriage they are sent to live with their educating their sons (Pherali 2011, Levine 2006). Althou gh some schooling is considered beneficial for finding a match, too much may actually limit their options, as educated women are seen as less likely to make good housewives (Stash and Hannum 2001 356 ). The number of children in a family also has an effec t on the likelihood of being educated. If enough siblings are able to work while attending school, it makes it possible for all of them to afford an education. However if a sibling leaves for marriage or to go abroad, the burden of earning enough money to survive falls on those who stay behind, making them more likely to drop out Studies have also shown that among the urban poor older siblings are more likely to work, while younger ones have a better chance of attending school (Fafchamps and Wahba 2006 39 5 ). Although government schools are theoretically free in Nepal, parents are expected to pay for enrollment fees, textbooks, writing supplies and a uniform. This hidden cost of schooling becomes a barrier to entry (Valentin 2005). Corporeal punishment co ntinues to be an accepted form of punishment for students, and while in school the student must at all times be properly attired and clean. Many of the urban poor are not able to afford
75 instead not to go to school, fearing a beating (Valentin 2005, 93) The more school missed the more likely they are to drop out, giving up on school entirely instead of trying to catch up. The majority of people living in squatter settlements tend to be l ower caste, which is also a barrier to education in Nepal. Higher caste students are far more likely to finish their education, while dropout rates are higher for those from a lower caste (Stash and Hannum 2001 376 ). High attrition rates are particularly due to the discrimination faced in the schools by those belonging to lower castes, especially the untouchable caste. In some schools those students are forced to sit in segregated seating, and are bullied by their peers (Rayamajhi 2011 20 ). Just as the students living in squatter settlements find receiving an education difficult, their parents generally faced a similar struggle. This experience causes the parents to feel insecure and alienated by the school system, which can make them more likely to sto p sending their children (Valentin 2005, 84) It also makes it difficult for them to help their children with their schoolwork at home ( Bouwman 2012, 20 ). These parents also usually do not completely understand the benefits of schooling, as they did not ex perience them themselves. As the squatters lack political recognition and government services, the health in these areas is generally pretty poor (IRIN 2007) Parents are unable to afford the cost of medication, and cannot appeal to the government for aid Therefore, they become reliant on NGO services and free government health clinics to remain healthy While children living in urban areas have more access to food than those in rural Nepal, getting all the
76 essential vitamins from their diet is difficult, stunting growth and mental development (IRIN 2007 1 ) Relocation is generally done with little warning, and can destroy what few assets a family has. Many of the families make their living working in shops within the settlement, so when they are destroy ed the family loses their source of income and must find other work. Although many family members have several different jobs due to the uncertain nature of the types of employment they engage in, they still are unable to handle the shock to their income. This insecurity makes it more likely for a student to have to dropout and work to make up the lost income (Poudel 2012 b, 1 ). Housing Quality Due to the tenuous nature of their homes, many squatters chose not to invest in their homes for fear of destructi on. Even if they do try to improve their homes, the government makes it difficult in some respects. Many squatters are denied electricity, as there are legal provisions by the state that prohibit landles s people from having government provided electricity supplies (Sharma 2012, 1) Furthermore, squatters are denied the right to register their identities by some municipalities in Kathmandu, which bars access to other services provided by the government ( 1 ). Without electricity it is difficult for students to complete their homework, causing them to fall behind in school. Flooding is a common problem for squatters, as most of the settlements are on unwanted land near the rivers that cross through the city. These location s mean that squatters must face the yea rly prospect of their homes being washed away during monsoon season decreasing their incentive to improve their homes. Flooding can also destroy schoolwork and uniforms which families are unable to replace due to cost
77 Monsoon season brings water borne d iseases which can cause a student to miss many days of school (IRIN 2007). One squatter settlement recently had to deal with the scent of rotting meat after a slaughterhouse was turned into a storage house for the unwanted parts of buffalo. Residents w ere unable to eat or sleep due to the overwhelming scent, but were unable to take any legal action as the government did not recognize their homes as legitimate (Sejuwal 2012 b ). While this is only one instance, it is indicative of the challenges faced by t he squatters. Relocation is a solution increasingly relied upon by the Nepalese government to repurpose land that is currently being occ history there has only been one relocation project that can be considered successful, the Kirtipur Housing Project (KHP). Although forty four households the government were sold low cost new homes in a different location, the negotiations dragged on for over four years, during which time resident s lived in a state of flux. As no one wanted to invest in the housing they were living in, the condition of infrastructure within the settlement suffered, to the detriment of the students living there. The event s in the Shankhamul squatter settlement are a good example of the barriers to education caused by relocation, as they have caus ed a spike in students choosing to stop attending school. The tents the residents are currently living in are made out of whatever happened to be handy at the time, such as large umbrellas and cloth signs. As they are homemade, the tents are not particularly waterproof. Many students are forced to miss school because their uniforms are soaked in the morning, or because their homework has been destroyed by the rain (Poudel 20 12b 1 ).
78 Some students have found it difficult to concentrate on their schooling due to stress and lack of sleep. The co nstant rain and mosquitoes keep them awake at night, with little respite despite the prevalence of mosquito nets. Furthermore, now that the schools within the settlement have been destroyed many students have had to find other schools Although the government arranged for some of the students to enroll in another school, ble to walk that far, and have simply stopped attending if they cannot afford the money for transportation (Poudel 2012b 1 ) School Quality Although the government attempts to provide equal opportunities for all students, the system remains highly strat ified based on wealth and caste. Students in squatter settlements almost universally attend government schools that suffer from lack of materials and teachers (Valentin 2005). During the war the government was able to justify not investing money in school s, as the army was seen as needing the money more. Since the end of the conflict the number of schools has increased over time, however quality of teaching and learning continued to be poor due to the lack of adequate resources and a trained workforce compounding the problems of a school system that had always be en exclusive and discriminatory (Pherali 2011, 8) As the government has transitioned into a more decentralized school system, and maintaining a school has begun to depend more on the income generated from entrance fees and community input schools in poor areas have begun to deteriorate in quality One of the schools nearby the Ramagat squatter settlement illustrates the problem: ated and shabby. There was no electricity, making it impossible to see the writing in textbooks and
79 on the blackboard during the monsoon when it was cloudy and rainy. The school had only three rooms for five classes, so one teac her taught two grades togeth er. (Valentin 2005, 74) These are common problems with the infrastructure of government schools, and are a detriment to the learning of the students who attend them. Although not directly linked in the literature to causing dropping out in Nepal, low sch ool quality has been demonstrated in other countries to cause parents to stop enrolling their child in school if they feel the quality is too low to have an overall positive impact on their lives ( Hanushek, Lavy and Hitomi 2006 ii). Mastering English is v iewed by Nepalese people as one of the necessary skills needed to be considered a schooled person, and English skills give access to many of the better jobs. This is especially true in urban areas, where m any jobs involve interacting with tourists. Governm ent schools are taught in Nepalese, with one class of English, and are considered to be not very effective for learning the language (Valentin 2005 87 ). As a whole, teacher effectiveness in most government schools is considered very low, as the majority o f schoolteachers only receive minimal training, and those who are well trained usually take higher paying jobs in private schools (Carney 2003 91 ). Parents will therefore often look for alternatives to these subpar schools, and will move their children from government schools to private schools when they are able to afford them, or NGO educational activities like literacy classes (Valentin 2005, 83) To afford the nicer schools parents will rely on NGO sponsoring, which is reliant on the NGO being succes sful enough to continue the scholarship from year to year (Valentin 2005 80 ) While the parents have the best intentions, the lack of schooling causes their
80 dropou t. Conclusion The squatter settlements of Kathmandu continue to grow in size as the country becomes more urbanized. The settlements are usually along the banks of the main rivers, and are therefore prone to flooding during monsoon season. As the populat ion density of Kathmandu increases and land becomes more valuable, squatters have begun to face more instances of government relocation projects, which have numerous negative externalities. When resettlement projects are common, families will be less likel y to invest in their homes, as they fear any work they do on them will be destroyed. The housing quality in the settlements coupled with a limited access to infrastructure, can contribute to a student dropping out from school. Domestic violence, social va lues, and perceived school quality also contribute to low graduation rates in these areas Without significant investment in programs designed to remove these barriers to education, it is unlikely that the schooling will ever become equ itable for all Nepal i citizens.
81 5 Conclusion and Policy Recommendations A rapid rate of urbanization in Nepal has caused the size of squatter settlements to grow, increasing the number of urban poor who face many barriers to improving their conditions. These problems, such as poverty, violence, and poor health, lead to obstacles that make receiving an education difficult for students who live in these settlements. Compounding this issue are the many inequalities that have existed in the Nepalese education system for ov er a century, esp ecially regarding educating low caste children and all women in general. Some programs, however, could be enacted to help remove the obstacles that students in squatter settlements face, such as granting land rights and funding community g roups. Although the Nepalese government and many aid agencies appear not to view urban poverty as a priority, the growing number of rural migrants will make this issue more pressing. If the government and NGOs do not take steps to alleviate the struggles t hat the squatters face in getting an education, the problems associated with settlements will only multiply, drai ning resources in the long run. Barriers to Education Faced By Students in the S quatter Settlements of Kathmandu Cities have offered hopes of employment and higher living standards to the rural poor for hundreds of years, although the reality of living in urban poverty has not always
82 met the expectations. Regardless, the rate of urbanization continues to rise, with the population living in cities rising from 17% to 40% between 1950 and 2005 (UN HABITAT 2003, xxi). A large percentage of the people migrating to cities are very poor, causing them to live in slums and squatter settlements to avoid paying for rent (xxi). In Nepal, the violence from the Nepalese Civil War and the fragile living from agricultural work have spurred migration to the capital city of Kathmandu and caused the settlements to grow in size since the 1990s (Tanak 2009, Sengupta and Sharma 2006). Studen ts who live in squatter settlements face a variety of extra challenges to getting an education. Violence in the settlements from both external and internal forces can make even getting to school safely difficult. Furthermore, it can cause schools to close down, which makes it less likely for students to return after they reopen (Mudege, Zulu and Izugbara 2008 ). Some slums have high crime rates, as the police do not wish to intervene in the areas, creating a cycle of violence that is difficult to break. Dome stic violence is also a problem faced by many, as the women do not have the same family ties that they would have in their villages (Oshiro, Poudyal, Podel et al. 2011). Poverty is another barrier that students face; their parents may need them to work ins tead of attend school in order for the family to afford their basic needs. Even if students want to go to school while working they cannot, because the school day and work day generally conflict, and there are no alternatives (Valentin 2005). If the parent s themselves did not receive a full education they may feel that their children would be better served working, instead of going to school (Hunt 2008). Free schools may also not be so free, as students usually have to find enough funds for books, uniforms and
83 transportation to school (Abuya 2012). Fees can be a large barrier to girls becoming educated, since they will take t heir schooling to their husband s household after marriage, so parents are less willing to invest in them (Levine 2006, Herz 2006, et c). The quality of squatter housing itself may be a barrier to education. The less permanent buildings cannot keep rain out, which ruins homework and uniforms (Poudel 2012a). The condition of the houses causes many students to become chronically ill, bo th from the environment and because they cannot afford the medication prescribed to them once they become ill (Rice and Rice 2009). The parents, however, will not invest money into their homes unless they have some reason to believe that they will be able to live there for an extended period of time. When a settlement is uprooted, it can trigger many students to drop out permanently, because their family cannot handle the extra expenses caused by the disruption (Lewis 2009). Finally, the quality of the scho ols that serve the urban poor is often so low that stude nts find it pointless to attend; they feel they will not learn any helpful skills. If there is a disjunction between what is learned in school and the jobs available to them once they graduate, droppi ng out and working is a more attractive option (Hanushek, Lavy and Hitomi 2006). Many slum schools are overcrowded and have teachers who have given up on trying to control their students (Mudge, Zulu and Izugbara 2008). Some schools lack electricity, or ev en enough textbooks for everyone to use (Valentin 2005). In Nepal, one of the most prevalent issues faced by students is the fear of relocation. The government has demonstrated a willingness to forcibly raze houses in areas that they wish to use for a pro ject (Sengupta and Sharma 2009). Students in the destroyed settlements have to go significantly father to school and deal with everything
84 they own becoming continually drenched in monsoon season (Poudel 2012a). While some of the settlements in Nepal have b een established long enough to have semi permanent buildings, most face unsanitary water conditions (IRIN 2007). Government hospitals are free for the urban poor, but the medication that the doctors prescribe is not, making it hard for students to recover when they get sick. Once they miss a large amount of class time it is unlikely that they will return, and there are no free programs in place for students who fall behind (Valentin 2011). In general the quality of schooling is lower for these areas, as th e decentralized education model that the government uses requires financial contributions that parents are unable to meet (Khanal 2013). The best way to lower the barriers that the students face is a subject of debate. Research on measures that have been attempted has shown contradictory outcomes. Decentralizing the school system gives more control to the communities, which should make the schools better serve their needs. However, it can also put extra financial pressure on poor communities, and cause the quality of schools to decrease. Privatization of schools in the form of low cost private schools gives students multiple options, but sometimes excludes the lowest income bracket of slum dwellers (Tooley 2007, Harma 2009). Incentivizing behavior such a s giving a stipend to families for sending their children to school, has been successful in improving enrollment in some countries, but these programs are usually costly, straining the economies of the developing nation and limiting the sustainability of t he program (Slavin 2010). School improvements are another option that would almost definitely improve enrollment, but are also limited by
85 may wish to increase teacher train ing and ensure every school has enough quality textbooks, in Nepal the funding is not there to support these reforms. Still, just because there is no magic bullet does not mean that Nepal should not try to implement some changes to help improve graduation rates for students in their squatter settlements. Mitigating the likelihood of eviction would improve the housing, and if a legal project was coupled with an increase in access to credit, it is probable that the infrastructure of the settlements would imp rove greatly. Although only a handful of nonprofit organizations operat es in the squatter settlements, if some of them began funding community groups and training unemployed members to tutor students who are falling behind and parents who were not able com plete their education, it is likely that graduation rates will rise significantly. Recommendations for the Nepali government and NGOs Although changing the conditions of the settlements may seem daunting, the positive externalities associated with improv ing the lives of squatters makes it important to try. T he barriers faced by students who would like to receive an education are both social and economic in nature ; therefore programs must address both of these issues. Legislation and nonprofit programs aim ing to protect squatters rights, improve school quality, and decrease the difficulties associated with poverty would increase graduation rates and be nefit the community as a whole. Housing One of the first, and most obvious, recommendations is for the go vernment to create channels through which squatter s could legitimize their ties to the land in an
86 affordable way. Although the mayor of Kathmandu signed an agreement in 2001 that guaranteed financial compensation for relocation projects, this has done litt le to stop the de struction of settlements when it suits the government (Lumbu 2012). As the land that the majority of settlements are built on is undesirable due to flooding, it would not be incredibly detrimental to the government to sell the ownership of the land at a low price. There are many benefits to this practice. First, squatters are unwilling to invest money into their homes if they constantly fear relocation, as the income would be wasted. If, however, they are sure that they will be able to li ve there for a long period of time then they will work to make the community better. More sturdily built homes provide better places for students to live and work on homework, and they provide a more stable home life. As some municipalities in Kathmandu de ny identity registration and electricity to people without addresses, the program would also address that issue (Sharma 2012). Relocation projects are extremely disruptive for students, often leading them to drop out due to an increased distance to schoo l, or because they need to work to make up income for finding a new home. The temporary homes in which students live after the beginning of a government relocation project usually cannot keep water out, leading to missed homework and damaged uniforms (Poud el 2012b) Therefore, creating a way for squatters to be officially tied to the land they live on would remove this barrier to citizens. Legal recognition allows the sq uatters to have more power in g overnment, and it would permit the government and private investors to build schools within the settlements themselves.
87 Lumanti has already found success in using community groups to create collectives that give the residen ts of squatt er settlements access to credit; however the potential for the positive impact of these groups is actually much greater (Dahal 2011). One of the largest barriers to education that students face is from their parents and home life. Although com munity groups are not a panacea to all of these problems, they would be a step in the right direction. If locally based group s were to receive funding and the elected leader of the group received training on issues such as the importance of schooling and female education helpful information would be disseminated throughout the community by community members, instead of outside individuals first having to gain the residents trust. The groups would also strengthen the ties within the settlement, lowering c rime rates and creating ways for communities as a whole to work on infrastructure that would benefit everyone. Schooling The first recommendation, of increasing funding to government schools, would probably be the most effective way to increase enrollmen t; however, it is also the most unlikely. Students who perceive the quality of their schooling to be low are less likely to attend, and the quality of government schools in poor areas is not very well respected in Nepal (Hanushek, Lavy and Hitomi 2006 Val entin 2005). Although the international aid system has heavily favored a more decentralized model of schooling, with communities being more responsible for funding them themselves, the government has not offset the lowered revenue that is gathered from the poorer communities (Shields and Rappleye 2008). However, while the economy continues to struggle, it is unlikely that government schools will receive any significant boost in funding in the near future.
88 Many Nepalese, including the Maoists, see private schools as being tools for the wealthy elite to pursue an education (Caddell 2006). However, in numerous countries, cost private schools have emerged in slum areas (Tooley and Dixon 2005). These school s, although they vary in quality, are generally perceived by residents as being superior to the available public schools (Tooely and Dixon 2005). They are also more flexible in their curriculum, and can make a schedule that would allow students to both wor k and attend school. Unfortunately for Nepal, the Maoist conflict has led to the subsequent government being suspicious and unsupportive of private schools as a whole. If, instead of discouraging their creation, the government supported low cost private schools for low income students by financial or legal means, the students in squatter settlements would have more options for education. The schools would also be able to cater more directly to the students, teaching them skills that they found important, thus increasing enrollment. Nepal faces low female graduation rates, as a high percentage of girls drop out due to marriage and pregnancy ( Pherali 2011 ). Educating daughters is less of a priority, ewards of education. One method of removing this barrier would be to create an incentive system for girls in public schools. Although the effectiveness of incentives is debated in the literature, in some cases it is found to be an effective way to encourag e enrollment for a target group ( Slavin 2010 ). Were the government to offer lowered school fees, or a stipend for female students whose families make below a specific amount it would be much easier for parent s to send their daughter s to school. If the com munity groups were congruently speaking about reasons why it is important to educate girls enrollment would almost certainly rise.
89 Another incentive program that the government could use would be to find a way to attract better teachers to low income are as. New teachers typically want to teach in private schools, as these offers the most money. Yet were the government to set up a program where a potential teach er could agree to work in a low income area for a certain period of time in exchange for cheape r tuition at government universities, students in Poverty access to credit. This could be done with microcredit loans, simply expanding the programs already in place, so that they could have a wider impact. Taking this action would help remove the barriers to education in several ways. First, it would allow the squatters to invest in their homes, upgrading them to be more conduci ve to study and decreasing the stress the students face from their homes. It would also allow parents to expand their businesses, increasing their assets. This recommendation, however, runs counter to evidence from a study conducted by Douglas in 2009, whi ch found that microcredit increased dropouts because students had to work more to keep up their parents businesses. However, as the majority of squatters do not own their own business es in these settlements, this danger could be less of a problem for Nepa l (Dahal 2011). A second program would be to increase low cost and free healthcare access for the squatters. Although government health care centers exist, many squatters are still unable to afford the medication prescribed to them (IRIN 2007). The more days a child misses school the less likely they are to return, so not receiving proper treatment forces
90 many students to leave school (Mudege, Zulu and Izugbara 2008 ). Even if it is the parent, and not the student, who gets sick, the likelihood increases t hat the student will have to drop out, in order to work to make up the income lost. One drawbac k to this program would be cost; however it could be a targeted program to students, making specific common medications free for children enrolled in school. Such a stipulation would provide an extra incentive for parents to enroll their children. Another program that could be used is to provide vitamin supplements at schools. The diets of squatters tend to be very restricted by their income, so many children a re unable to get all of nourishment they need, which restricts their school performance. Vitamins would also strengthen their immune systems, making it less likely that a student will miss class because of illness (Braun, Kanjee, Bettinger et al. 2006). One final program that would be greatly beneficial on multiple levels would be employing community members to teach remedial classes to students who have fallen behind. A prog ram like this was used in India and was found to help improve the scores of many of the students falling behind (Baner jee, Cole, Duflo et al. 2005). Such a program would give employment to people living in the squatter settlements, raising their income and standard of living. It would also provide a backup system for students, who do n ot have any school programs that could help them if they fall behind. The Nepalese government has adopted a strategy of ignoring the settlements until it needs that location; however this policy is not sustainable. The number of people livi ng in the squatter settlements of Kathmandu is unlikely to decrease anytime soon, causing the problems associated with them to escalate over time. Education is the key to
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