Schools as tactical targets in conflict. What the case of Nepal can teach us

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10 Citations (Scopus)


That school grounds, students, and staff can become tactical targets for parties in conflict is widely accepted as a fact by analysts of education and conflict. However, our understanding of the motivations for such targeting remains limited, as does our ability to engage with this matter through policy. In this article we explore tactical targeting of schools in Nepal in order to deepen our understanding of this phenomenon. Our key argument is that schools offered important qualities and resources to parties in conflict. We distinguish physical and symbolic qualities and resources that are human and financial in nature, and we explain how and why these played a role in the targeting of schools. We conclude that if we seek to protect schools, children, and school staff from being targeted, it may be well worth temporarily decreasing schools' societal prominence in comparable cases in which our argumentation may apply, such as rural areas in low-income countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalComparative Education Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • education

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