Keynote Speaker: Dr. Suresh Gautam

Dr. Suresh Gautam is an Assistant Professor in Development Studies at the School of Education, Kathmandu University, Nepal. His primary research interests are in the field of education, qualitative research, development and youth and adult education in urban and rural settings contributing to social transformation. He has worked closely with the UNESCO Chair team at UEA, including through a fellowship funded by BAICE (British Association of International and Comparative Education) to develop publications based on his research on adult and youth literacy and learning.

Dr. Gautam’s recent publication for UNESCO futures of education and UNESCO indigenous language decade 2020-2030 highlight the importance of education to combat the global problems such as climate change, global warming, and pandemic like COVID 19 with preserving and promoting the local wisdom heritage which are more resilient and sustainable futures.

Dr. Gautam also experiments with the genre and logics of transformative research practice to challenge the Western Modern research paradigms thereby valuing and recognizing the local epistemic indeterminacy and practices. This ontic position has been reflected in the research supervision and facilitation skills.


Urban Education in Global South: Social Justice and Transformation


This paper aims at exploring the agendas of urban education in the context of the global south. The historical legacy of urban education has been rooted in the American context of studying urban education as a deficit modal of social justice and transformation. The expansion of the urban areas in the global south has impacted education adversely with the colonial footprint of education for producing human capital suitable for the cities and industry. However, the reforming education in urban areas has not been much prioritized. In this context, the paper deals with the urban education locating in two metropolitan cities of Nepal thereby using a case study to articulate the agendas of urban education and role of state to address these issues for social justice and transformation. The research finds that this is the time to reform education in urban areas by valuing diversity in terms of curriculum, assessment, and overall learning outcomes for preparing the conscious and critical citizens in future. The research concludes that it is the need to develop critical consciousness among students to address the deficit modal of education. 

Rapid urbanization in global south is observed as theimportant drivers of economic development and progress along with uncontrolled migration, resource depletion, severe fuel shortages and the breakdown of law and order (Datta, 2017). This progress brings with the potential for greater economic growth, higher living standards, and an expanded role in the global economy. Cities are often places of prevalent poverty and inequality. They can be hot beds of political instability, given their often very rapid demographic transformation.

Powerful Western locus has been part of urban education’s history. The roots of urban education go back to the 1920s, when the U.S. government established a series of boarding schools for American Indian children. These schools were intended to assimilate Native American children into the dominant culture. They were also supposed to provide a better education for these children, compared to what they could have received at the reservation schools. The boarding school movement was the U.S. government’s largest attempt to educate Native American children up to that time, and it had a significant impact on all American Indian tribes. This root of American education system was reflected in Nepal’s education system when it started private school back in 1990s.

However, urbanization and education also come with their own set of challenges. As a result, it also divides people in terms of access to the kind of school’s students get opportunities, kinds of materials they get for their study.

Urban education rather than focusing on society and community for equitable and inclusive education, which focuses on migration, exclusion, learning, teacher preparation, and so on. It is a deficit model of education. Cities are characterized by heterogeneity, diversity, inequality, and conflict which affected the education system of the state. They are places where people coexist, but do not necessarily interact or engage with each other. Schools as a miniature of society (City) the most common meeting place for young people, and it is within these institutions that they are socialized into the dominant culture. How do we understand the role of urban education in cities characterized by heterogeneity, diversity, and inequality? What is the relationship between urban education and social justice? How are the goals of social justice reflected in urban education?

Global economic movements affected the market, values, everyday life of people in the global south. What has been described is the connection between urbanization and its effects on education, not education and its contribution to green and sustainable urbanization. By looking at the city as a learning environment, we can think about how different groups of people experience that environment, and how those differences are structured. It is an equity model, which focuses on migration, inclusion, learning, teacher preparation, and so on.

Education in this regard became a tool of oppression of global south as far as the issues of education co-relate with the issues of the global north education, especially America. This paper is important to raise some pertinent issues to reconfigure the urban education in the context of global south by placing the urban education in the center of inquiry.