Keynote Speaker: Prof. Bal Chandra Luitel, PhD
Bal Chandra Luitel is a Professor at the Department of STEAM Education at Kathmandu University, School of Education. Currently, he serves as the Dean of School of Education. Educated in Nepal and Australia and having worked in Nepal, Australia, and Portugal, he completed PhD from the Science and Mathematics Education Centre (currently STEM Education Research Group), Curtin University, with Chancellor’s Commendation. Prof. Luitel’s research primarily aims to address the protracted problem of culturally decontextualized mathematics, science, and technology education faced by Nepali students. Unsurprisingly, Prof Luitel draws from the Eastern and Western philosophical and wisdom traditions to crystallize possibilities in his research program. Professor Luitel also coordinates a transformative education project called Rupantaran that aims at engaging Masters and Doctoral students to bring forth narratives unfolded during their immersion in a school transformation process via transformative (decolonial, anticolonial, and postcolonial) epistemologies armed with new analytics arising from dialectical, metaphorical, poetic, and narrative for conceiving, expressing, and implementing visions of holistic (place-based, inclusive and life-affirming education) in Nepal. Prof Luitel is a member of a transformative education research consortium (International Transformative Educational Research Network-ITERN ) comprising scholars from Asia, Africa, Europe, and America.
Sustaining and Expanding the Vision of a Transformative STEAM Education Research Program through the framework of Emancipatory Interest: An East-West Symbiosis
The presentation is a showcase of the development of a graduate research program that primarily aims at addressing the widespread problems of culturally decontextualised nature of STEM education that harbours a disempowering (e.g., exclusionary, inequitable and inauthentic) educational process and that has also been challenging the narrowly conceived notion of evidence as the outcome of the ontology of naive realism (Luitel, 2022). The notion of culture has been articulated through its postcolonial avatar of activities performed by people to produce meanings in the context of their lifeworld (Schech & Haggis, 2000). The phenomenon of cultural decontextualization is examined from the colonial goal of educating savages via the sanctified civilizational knowledge of the Home (Maseko, 2018). Although Nepal has never been colonised directly, it looked to British-India in conceiving its modern education curricula in general, and science and mathematics education in particular (Lamichhane & Luitel, 2022). As there might have been a change in the source of curricular importation, the symptom of déjà vu all over again can be seen through low achievement, disengaged learning and decreasing enrolment in science and mathematics disciplines (Taylor, Taylor, & Luitel, 2012).
A research program that radically challenges the assumptions and practices of such a disempowering educational program has been conceived under the auspices of educational research as/for transformative professional development (Luitel, 2018). In such a graduate research program, experienced educational practitioners engage themselves in addressing the broad research question—how can I improve my practice for developing an inclusive, equitable and agentic educational system? The research program has been guided by four key focuses: critical curriculum theory, multi-paradigmatic research design, transformative learning, Eastern Wisdom Traditions, and STEAM education (Luitel & Taylor, 2019; Pant, Luitel, & Shrestha, 2020). Our version of critical curriculum theory draws upon Schubert’s curriculum images and the emancipatory interest of Habermas to unpack taken for granted assumptions embedded in thinking and actions of the practitioners. Likewise, the process of unpacking their narratives of lived experiences as educational professionals is guided by critical, interpretive and other emergent paradigms. The design space has further been enriched by critical, arts-based and participatory methodologies, such as autoethnography, narrative inquiry, participatory action research, lyric inquiry, to name but a few (Flick, 2022). The reflexive research process is further informed by transformative learning in which the researcher becomes convictional, action-oriented, and praxis driven in her/his approach to producing emancipatory knowledge. While taking arts as radical response to Cartesian dualism that separates STEM from humanities, we conceive STEAM education as a radical step for envisioning empowering educational processes. In this process, a host of concepts arising from Eastern Wisdom Traditions, such as Lila and Rita shall be employed to discuss the symbiotic nature of educational empowerment (Lamichhane & Luitel, 2022; Luitel, 2019, 2022).
List of References
Flick, U. (2022). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research design: SAGE.
Lamichhane, B. R., & Luitel, B. C. (2022). A critical rendition to the development of mathematics education in Nepal: an anticolonial proposal. British Journal for the History of Mathematics, 1-21.
Luitel, B. C. (2018). A mindful inquiry towards transformative curriculum vision for inclusive mathematics education. Learning: Research and Practice, 4(1), 78-90. doi:10.1080/23735082.2018.1428141
Luitel, B. C. (2019). Journeying towards a Multi-Paradigmatic Transformative Research Program: An East-West Symbiosis. In Research as Transformative Learning for Sustainable Futures (pp. 19-37). Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Sense.
Luitel, B. C. (2022). Why Are We Teaching Factorisation at a Time When the Planet Is Getting Hotter Every Year?: Conceiving STEAM Education through an East-West Symbiosis. In Transformative STEAM Education for Sustainable Development (pp. 34-55): Brill.
Luitel, B. C., & Taylor, P. C. (2019). Introduction: Research as Transformative Learning for Sustainable Futures. In Research as Transformative Learning for Sustainable Futures (pp. 1-16). Leiden, The Netherlands Brill|Sense.
Maseko, P. N. (2018). Transformative praxis through critical consciousness: A conceptual exploration of a decolonial access with success agenda. Educational research for social change, 7(Special Issue), 78-90. http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/12221-14070/12018/v17157i17150a17156
Pant, B. P., Luitel, B. C., & Shrestha, I. M. (2020). Incorporating STEAM pedagogy in teaching mathematics. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the Eight International Conference to Review Research in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (episteme 8), January 3-6, 2020, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai, India Available at https://episteme8.hbcse.tifr.res.in/proceedings/.
Schech, S., & Haggis, J. (2000). Culture and development: A critical introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Taylor, P. C., Taylor, E., & Luitel, B. C. (2012). Multi-Paradigmatic transformative research as/for teacher education: An integral perspective. In K. Tobin, B. Fraser, & C. McRobbie (Eds.), The second international handbook of science education (pp. 373-387). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.
The recent publications of Dr. Luitel can be found at https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&tzom=-345&user=Kx9KdVsAAAAJ