Nepal

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Children enjoying school reopening and marking international peace day after the 2015 earthquake - PENN 2016.


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Major Branches of Peace Education Observed in Nepal. (click for details)
  • Conflict Resolution Education
  • Democracy Education
  • Disarmament Education
  • Gender
  • Human Rights Education
  • Interfaith Peacebuilding
  • Restorative Practices
  • Values & Ethics Education

Significant Approaches and Themes of Peace Education in Nepal. (click for details)
  • Access to Education
  • Child’s Rights
  • Civic Education
  • Coexistence Education
  • Conflict Resolution Education (CRE)
  • Conflict Transformation
  • Creative Arts
  • Democracy Education
  • Dialogue
  • Federalism Education
  • Gender
  • Historical Memory
  • Human Rights Education
  • Mediation
  • Meditation
  • Peacebuilding
  • Peace Circles
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Transitional Justice
  • Values Education
  • Yoga

Historical Context

The political boundaries of modern Nepal came into existence in the late eighteenth century in the earlier form of the Kingdom of Nepal (Malla 1970). Landlocked in between India and China, Nepal has over 26.5 million inhabitants of 125 caste/ethnic groups speaking 123 languages (Central Bureau of Statistics, 2012). Out of the total inhabitants, about 40% of people belong to the indigenous ethnic groups while the other remaining 60% belong to the Hindu Varna system, mainly Chhetri (16.6%), Hill-Brahmin (12.2%), and Kami (4.8%). This is a country with profound knowledge traditions (Dhungana & Yamphu, 2016). In addition, Nepal shares several pilgrimage sites for Hinduism and Buddhism and the birthplace of Buddha. In Nepal, practices of Yoga, meditation, worshipping nature, and following spirituality are integral parts of culture.

The time period after the restoration of multi-party democracy in 1990 is crucial in Nepal to observe major shifts in the increasing number of non-state actors. Since then, Nepal has instituted various progressive laws, however it failed to implement them in an effective way as issues of structural violence remain unaddressed. Nepal experienced a decade long armed conflict that ended with a comprehensive peace accord in 2006. Since then, Nepal has experienced various civil unrest such as movements by diverse ethnic and minority groups calling for inclusion in mainstream politics. Many of those demands were negotiated during the constitution-writing process. In 2015, in response to a long instability, Nepal became a federal state with significant power devolved to 753 new local governments that have received several important powers, including regulating education and health care (Timalsina 2017, 70). Nepal was featured in various literatures for low economic growth, social inequality, limited development progress and widespread poverty over the last 20 years.  Nepal’s economic growth has only grown between 2% and 4% per year, which reached 6 % to 7% in late 2010s giving hope that Nepal will be successfully creating more opportunities for youth and the workforce inside the country (Nepal Rastra Bank 2020). The adoption of the new constitution in 2015 replaced a 270 year-long monarchy with a republican system, and institutionalized federal system of governance.  There is an ongoing struggle to institutionalize the values and political culture in a more systematic way.

An important point to remember is that Nepal is a founding member of the non-alignment movement and thus promotes peaceful solutions to all kinds of global and national issues. Nepal has reiterated that it believes in Panchasheela, UN charter and principles of non-alignment movement for regional and global peace. In September 1973, addressing the conference of non-aligned nations, King Birendra emphasized the need for peace and cooperation and said “Nepal situated between two most populous countries in the world, wishes within her frontiers to be enveloped in ‘zone of peace’ (Anand, 1977: Nepal's Zone of Peace Concept and China - JP Anand, 1977)”. On 25th February 1975, King Birendra formally made a proposal that Nepal be declared a zone of peace in front of high dignitaries from more than 65 countries at the occasion of his coronation reception. Similarly, since its membership in the United Nations, Nepal has been contributing to peacekeeping operations under the UN umbrella. In the last 5 decades, Nepal has been one of the largest peacekeeping troops contributing countries for UN peacekeeping missions. Among 122 peacekeeping force contributing countries, Nepal ranks as third largest contributor as per the data of June 2021 with currently serving 5,128 Nepali 'blue helmets' including 176 women peace-keeping soldiers in 12 peacekeeping missions in various conflict-hit countries of the world (Rastriya Samachar Samiti, 2021: Nepal ranks third in list of highest troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping).

Decades of lost educational opportunities, the disintegration of communities and families, and widespread unemployment, all place a tremendous burden on the Nepalese society.  Multi-layered discrimination, abuses and exploitation are existing in Nepali society as  deep-rooted structural challenges.  Youth are often targeted and perceived as instigators during conflicts, and their roles as peacebuilders go unrecognized (Shrestha and Jenkins 2019).

Current Issues & Conflicts

Out of many present-day issues, some major issues are:

  • Transitional justice is still a pending issue even after almost 15 years since the official end of the armed conflict (1996-2006). Beside the success stories from the peace process, some major tasks from the peace accord of 2006 are still unresolved. The peace accord was supposed to form the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and a Commission on the Investigation of Disappeared People within six months and solve the issues within two years. But it took more than six years to form the commissions itself.  It has already been more than five years since the formation of the two commissions, and they are still figuring out the possible way to move forward. Except collecting of 63,718 complaints from TRC and 3,223 complaints from Commission on Investigation on Enforced Disappearance (CIEDP), no single case has been investigated so far. The political crisis and inaction at the commissions, especially after so many years marked by a lack of progress on transitional justice, is a cause of great frustration among conflict victims.
  • Unstable Politics and Social Unrests are another issue. The end of the armed conflict officially stopped the mobilization of armed groups, but since then, Nepali society has observed a series of social unrests and major transition every five years without an effective political establishment. It is observed that Nepal still is in a state of negative peace, failing to address the issues of political violence that occurred in armed conflict and shifting the priority of the government toward developmental work leaving behind the issues of human development. Again, the situation of COVID has pushed Nepal 20 years back in terms of social, psychological, and economic development with losing the jobs and social safety nets especially by women and marginalized communities.
  • Gender, caste-based discrimination and discrimination against Madheshi population is another major social issue.  The socio-economic and gender-based descriptions are rooted in the social structures and day-to-day life. Frequent incidents of discrimination, physical assaults, and brutality are reported in national media, and there are many more cases not reported. Although national law has banned any kind of discriminations and made those acts or intentions punishable, the social transformation is yet to be achieved in making a tolerant and cohesive society. Although Nepal has made some significant achievements during the 15 years of the peace process, the overall condition of women has not changed. Even those women who have made it to important leadership positions at the local government and the parliament have been victims of sexism and misogyny and left out from decision-making processes that concern the national agendas. This all reflects the inherent power imbalances that exist in Nepali society, that have deepened social inequalities.
  • Unemployment and foreign labour migration are another noteworthy issue in Nepal. Every year, almost a million youth leave the country in search of better job opportunities or better education opportunities. Now, it is believed that more than seven million youth are working in gulf countries and Malaysia as unskilled or semi-skilled migrant workers, which means that now, more than one third of the total population live outside of the country. After the COVID-19 outbreak, the migrant Nepali population are at high risk because of the nature of the COVID-19 virus spread and the group accommodation and working conditions of workers in larger construction sites.
  • Weak Public Service Delivery, high risk of natural disasters and uneven distribution of resources are also noteworthy for present day Nepal. Almost 80% of the country is full of mountains and hills. Thousands of households are living in scattered villages in the highlands, and it is difficult to access public services easily. Every year, natural disasters such as floods and landslides kill hundreds of people. The public service providers are distributed unevenly. Most of the state agencies and organizations are more congested to southern plains and major urban centers. It is very difficult for many people to access public services, market and economic benefits because of such uneven distribution of state resources. Still, a significant percentage of the population lives in  rural Nepal.
  • Geo-strategic location and multiplier effects of regional conflicting issues are also important factors as Nepal lies between the two most populous countries of the world, India and China. Both the neighbors are emerging global powers and often Nepal is being pulled in by big power’s competing interests, for example China’s Belt and Road Initiative and USA’s Indo Pacific Strategy on top of Nepal’s complex relationship with India. Due to the open border with India, Nepal is also at risk of increased per capita small arms and thus the risk of armed violence is high. Similarly, the regional tensions including but not limited to the issues of Myanmar, Kashmir, North-East of India, Tibet, Afghanistan have always affected Nepal in some ways. Nepal has hosted millions of refugees for decades from Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar and other countries.

Additional Resources for More Context

Significant Peace Education Efforts & Approaches

Efforts to include peace education
Peace education is integrated in the formal education system, in formal school education, higher education, and non-formal education systems. The discourse of peace education was more explicit right after the end of Maoist Armed Insurgency in 2006, while such initiatives have been less explicit in education systems since the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2015.

Peace education in school education

  • Peace education emerged as part of the broader peacebuilding processes during the armed conflict 1996-2006 in Nepal 
  • In 2003, Children as Zones of Peace (CZOP) campaign (czopnepal.org) launched in Nepal and peace education was included as one of the key agenda of the CZOP campaign. 
  • In 2004-2005, Save the Children Supported Curriculum Development Centre (CDC), Ministry of Education to pilot peace education in selected schools (Thapa, et.al, 2010). 
  • In 2006, Save the Children US and UNESCO signed an agreement with CDC to integrate peace education in national curricula (Smith, 2015).
  • In 2007, UNICEF expanded support together with Save the Children US and supported Nepal in integrating peace education in 3-8 grades and later in 2013 UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and Pacific (UNRCPD) provided last mile support to integrate peace education in grade 9-10 (Dhungana, 2021: PDE in Nepal (2013-2015) - UNRCPD - United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific.)
  • As the result, various elements of peace education (for example: conflict resolution, peer mediation, negotiation, empathy, human rights, citizenship education, gender equality, non-violence communication and disarmament related lessons) are integrated primarily in social studies, moral education, Nepali & English language and other relevant subjects in grade 1-12 of the Nepali school system. 

Peace Education in Higher Education

  • Peace Studies became a part of a separate academic discipline only after the end of the armed conflict of 1996-2006. 
  • The oldest and largest university of Nepal, Tribhuvan University, started a Masters in Conflict, Peace and Development Studies (CPDS www.dcpds-tu.edu.np)  in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. The curriculum includes ‘peace studies’, ‘conflict studies’, ‘conflict resolution’, ‘human rights education’ and ‘peace and disarmament education’ as well as other topics.  
  • In 2009, ‘Peace and Conflict Studies’ as an international semester course offered by the Norwegian organization Kulturstudier and the Oslo Metropolitan University, in partnership with Pokhara University, was started. 
  • After the establishment of a new university in 2010, Mid-Western University (mwu.edu.np) introduced a Bachelors and Masters in Conflict and Peace Studies. 
  • In 2013, Lumbini Buddhist University (lbu.edu.np) started a School of Buddhism and Peace Studies at the Bachelor's and Master's level. 
  • The Nepal Armed Police Force in collaboration with Tribhuvan University started a Masters Degree in Security, Development and Peace Studies (MSDPS) in 2015 as part of the staff and command college course. 
  • It is evident that courses such as social studies, law, moral education and other social science subjects at different levels (from basic schools to university) have components of social cohesion, religious tolerance, human rights, and civic education including rights and duties, respecting the multicultural, multilingual and multi-religious Nepal.
  • Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police have a separate human rights section to train its personnel on human rights related issues. This human rights unit supervises the policing closely, investigates the allegations, reports the human rights breaches and coordinates other human rights related organizations to conduct training for awareness. 
  • The Nepal Administrative Staff College runs a long-term professional development course for civil service employees of the Nepalese government. The program has coverage for managing relationship building, managing conflicts and negotiations, and other courses on understanding multiculturalism, and social cohesion.
  • Peace and nonviolence, human rights, gender equality, security and conflict management related subjects are included as part of the master’s courses in Nepal. However, there is no standalone course of ‘peace education’ in Nepal. In Tribhuvan University, peace education is being taught as a stand-alone unit of the Education Theory subject in the Masters’ Degree in Education.  

Non-formal/Informal Initiatives on Peace education
Education for peace includes the Schools as Zones of Peace (SZOP) National Campaign. The SZOP national campaign was initiated as part of the agenda of Children as Zones of Peace, led by the civil society organisations working in the sector of child rights and education Schools as Zones of Peace | Resource Centre (savethechildren.net). In addition, some civil society organisations such as Peace Education Network - Nepal (PENN) are providing peace education training to the teachers from some of the selected schools. Similarly, Nagrik Awaz is mobilising youth in peacebuilding and promoting peace education skills among youth. Similarly, CZOP Nepal | Children as Zones of Peace National Campaign is advocating for children’s right to peace and security in and out of school settings in Nepal.

Yoga has been practiced in Nepal at a community level for a long time. In the early 1960s, the Government of Nepal officially celebrated through an international event. In the Vedic period, the yoga practiced by sages in the foothills of the Himalayas was almost extinct in Nepal. The work of raising public awareness has been started by declaring a day for renaissance from this area. In ancient times, mental peace and stability, and health were achieved through yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda. National Yoga Day is being celebrated on 1 Magh of Nepali official calendar which is around 15th January each year. The meeting of the Council of Ministers in 2015 formally decided to celebrate the National Yoga Day on 1 Magh (15th January) and handed over the responsibility of coordinating it to the Ministry of Education. Through the leadership of the Ministry of Education, all formal and informal education providing institutions promote yoga education through various events. The ministry has developed a curriculum on Yoga Practice and made available publicly which is available at https://moe.gov.np/assets/uploads/files/National_Yoga_Protocol_book2.pdf 

Nepal has hundreds of monasteries and religious shrines related to Buddhism and Hinduism. They regularly organize religious events at community level. Meditation practice is one core of it. Regular meditation exercises and practices are offered at various Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples. Several Vipassana and Meditation retreat centers are in operation in Nepal. Monastery run by His Eminence Rinpoche Shyalpa Tenzin is one example. Shyalpa Monastery, Nunnery, and Retreat Center are located on Kopan Hill above Kathmandu valley. Over 200 monks and nuns are in residence receiving secular and spiritual education. The Retreat Center hosts students from around the world who wish to study and practice the Buddhist path. The details available at https://www.buddhafield.us/copy-of-shyalpa-monastery. Similarly, Mahasidhha Peace Sanctuary is being built to offer spiritual and meditation education to promote peace at Lumbini (birthplace of Siddhartha Gautam Buddha). The details available at https://peacesanctuary.org. Pashupati temple which is one of the respected Hindu Lord Shiva temples in Kathmandu runs a religious school where hundreds of people study Vedas and Sanskrit education.

Legislative and Policy Initiatives
  • National Education Commission (1992) report recommended to replace the homogenized curriculum and introduce rights-based education in Nepal (Smith, 2015). Nepal committed to the Constitution and by signing the UNCRC, acknowledged that providing education for all is the duty of the state. Article 4 of the Constitution clearly sets out that “Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multilingual, democratic, independent, indivisible, sovereign, Hindu and constitutional monarchical kingdom.”
  • The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2007 recognised the need to protect human rights, child rights, peace, gender, respect of diversity and social inclusion. NCF highlighted the role of diversity in empowering all communities including the disadvantaged and marginalized communities (MoE, 2007). Below is an excerpt from the NCF 2007:
    • In the context of 21st century human rights, child rights, peace, gender and social equity, population education and environment conservation including global information and communication technology have become the emerging needs (p.6). Development of curriculum, teachers, evaluation system should be balanced and in proper coordination with multicultural sensitivity, economic condition, social structure, norms and values and nature and lifestyle of Nepalese people (p.28). The NCF acknowledged the need for promoting multiple languages through education and ensure child rights to get primary education in their mother language (p.13) and realized the need to have an inclusive system in curriculum and provided additional support for the disadvantaged children such as the girls, Dalits, children with disabilities, working children, children affected from armed conflict, and street children (p.14).
  • The Government of Nepal declared all Schools as Zones of Peace (SZOP). In Nepal, this campaign was started in 2001 and launched fully in 2003. UNICEF was one of the leading organizations for this campaign. More than 30 organizations were involved to implement this campaign. The main purpose of this declaration is to keep the schools to remain safe while teaching and learning being violence free environment. The Government of Nepal prepared a national SZOP Framework and a guideline to promote schools as a safe learning place which comprises not using any means of violence in school.
  • The Consolidated Equity Strategy for the School Sector (CEESS) in Nepal is another document that holds the state accountable to not only school going children but also to out of school children, drop out children and those from the disadvantaged committees. The equity strategy is adopted to ensure that those out-of-school children, those in the low socio-economic aspect, those without family support, those who are at the risk of dropping out from school gain equity in access, participation and learning outcomes in education. Consolidated Equity Strategy 2071: Center for Education and Human Resource Development (doe.gov.np)
  • The National Education Policy (2019) is the recently revised education policy to cater to the federal political context of Nepal, which sets the tone to support inclusive and free education. The policy focuses on systemic, institutional and academic reforms for equity and access; quality and relevance; and research and academic excellence. The NEP highlighted to ensure some of the elements that foster peace education for example: child friendly education, scholarships for children with disabilities and marginalized students and providing education in mother languages. 
  • Nepal has mainstreamed peace education within the educational policy. Thus, a policy of promoting peace and human rights education has set and provided the opportunities for peace education interventions into all sub-sectors of education: curriculum, formal education, non-formal education, teacher education, and alternative education. 
  • The seven subjects from Nepali school curriculum and textbooks such as Social Studies & Creative Arts, Civic Education, Social Studies, Social Studies & Life Skills, and Moral Education subjects.

Policy / Legislation (click for details)
  • Direct

Teacher Training (click for details)
  • Optional

SDG Indicator 4.7.1 Data / Analysis (click for details)

No indicators currently reported. See these SDG reports from Nepal:
Nepal's Sustainable Development Goals
National Review of Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Goal 4: Education 2030 Nepal National Framework

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Photo Caption

(Top) Children in Ganga Sagar Rai playing outdoors cooperative games with the organization Nagarik Aawaz. (Bottom) Children playing trust building game in Kharpachowk Tamang village as a part of Mobile Arts for Peace research.

Peace Education Organizations, Projects, & Models

News on Peace Education in Nepal

Access the comprehensive archive of news  articles related to this country on the Global Campaign for Peace Education website. For a more customizable search, please visit the Global Campaign for Peace Education Clearinghouse.

Research on Peace Education in Nepal

Access the comprehensive archive of research articles related to Nepal on the Global Campaign for Peace Education website. For a more customizable search, please visit the Global Campaign for Peace Education Clearinghouse.

Where to Study Peace Education in Nepal

Peace and Disarmament Education, Department of Conflict, Peace & Development Studies, Tribhuvan University

Visit the Global Campaign for Peace Education Global Directory for where to study peace education in this country and around the world.

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Photo Caption

(Top) Peace for Everyone art with children in Nepal with the UNRCPD in 2013. (Bottom) Ganga Sagar Rai, with the organization Nagarik Aawaz, engages children in activities on learning to live together.