Elite appropriation of English as a medium of instruction policy and epistemic inequalities in Himalayan schools

Sah, Pramod K. and Karki, Jeevan (2022). Elite appropriation of English as a medium of instruction policy and epistemic inequalities in Himalayan schools. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2020.1789154


This study reports on an investigation into the perspectives of different stakeholders (e.g. administrators, teachers, students, and parents) towards motivations for introducing English as a medium of instruction (EMI) policy in low-resourced public schools, serving minoritized students, and language ideologies that form its practices. Framed within the notions of neoliberalism and elite bi/multilingualism, this study provides a nuanced understanding of ideological and implementational discourses of the EMI policy in the K-121 context, which contributes to the emerging field of EMI. As the analysis of interviews and focus groups with the above stakeholders from five different schools in Mt. Everest region and the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal reveals, the key motivations for EMI were to help students gain social and material (economic) capital as EMI was perceived as a means to achieve English skills and quality education. However, such desires, guided by neoliberal logics, have put the minoritized students under delusion because the insufficiency of English proficiency among both teachers and students and the lack of rudiments to effectively implement EMI have created a ‘comprehension crisis’ and ‘epistemic inequalities’ for minoritized students. The findings also illustrate how neoliberal ideologies have led to the practice of elite bilingualism in EMI classrooms, also influencing the local language ecology.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 83075
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1747-7557
  • Keywords
  • English medium instruction; elite bi/multilingualism; neoliberal dispositions; medium of instruction policy; epistemic inequalities; Nepal
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
  • Depositing User
  • Pramod Sah