Nepal on the Move: Conflict, Migration and Stability

The Returns of Educational Migration in Nepal

Nepalis in CphKaren Valentin, Uddhab Pyakurel, Sagar Raj Sharma and Laxmi Dhungel (PhD student)

Objective of sub-study 4

The overall objective of this sub-study is to explore the impact of transnational student migration at both household and societal level in Nepal, with particular attention paid to the role of gender and class.

A significant number of Nepalese youth migrate with the purpose of pursuing a higher education abroad. Historically speaking India has been the principal destination for Nepalese going abroad for both employment opportunities and education, but in recent years North America, Australia and Europe have provided pathways for student and highly skilled migration for people from the middle and upper classes. With a focus on returnee student migrants this sub-study explores, firstly, how academic, technical and social skills acquired abroad are used when re-establishing a life back in Nepal; secondly how highly educated returnees envision to contribute to build up democratic institutions in post-conflict Nepal through their engagement in civic, social and political organisations. Through its focus on a group of relatively privileged migrants it sheds light on transnational student migration as a potential resource for democracy-building in Nepal, both in relation to a potential increase in political and civic engagement furthered by migrants’ know-how with other socio-political systems, and to the ways in which experiences gained abroad may contribute to challenge existing social hierarchies, including that of gender, at both household and societal level.