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William & Mary

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Nepal: Development and Social Change


In 2017, Nepal held its first local elections in twenty years. These were the first elections held under Nepal’s new constitution, ratified in 2015, which transitioned the country from a unitary state to a Federal Democratic Republic. This case study analyzes the effect of the transition to federalism on decision-making and community representation in local governance in Annapurna Rural Municipality in West-Central Nepal. This study focuses specifically on education policy, one of the more public and contentious policy responsibilities devolved from the federal level to the local units under the new constitution. This research is based on interviews with government officials, teachers, and other stakeholders in governance and education policy. It finds that although there is general support and optimism for the federal transition, there remain many challenges to implementation, especially in terms of lack of capacity and the persistence of old institutions. These challenges limit the extent to which the constitution’s goals of local democracy and inclusive government can be realized, especially in rural and mountainous areas of Nepal.


Asian History | Asian Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | East Asian Languages and Societies | Education Policy | Policy History, Theory, and Methods | Political Science | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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