Indigenous Education Policy, Equity, and Intercultural Understanding in Latin America

Monday, February 1, 2016
On December 1, 2015, the University Seminar on Indigenous Studies heard a presentation on the above-mentioned subject by Professor Regina Cortina, Teachers College, Columbia University (Professor of Education). Respondents were Mirka Martel and Victor Llanque Zonta, International and Transcultural Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University (PhD Candidates).
Latin American countries enacted constitutional reforms over the last two decades to protect the right of Indigenous peoples to an education that includes their cultures and languages. During the 1990s, nine countries in the region amended their constitutions to guarantee that right and adopted intercultural and bilingual education policies known as EIB, using the acronym in Spanish for Educación Intercultural Bilingüe, as an educational strategy for Indigenous children. In five additional countries this right is supported through education legislation. In all these countries, new legislation, reforms to education policies, and the creation of new institutions focused on providing quality education that is culturally and linguistically relevant to Indigenous children.
Dr. Cortina’s comparative study of educational reform uses three central themes to analyze the implementation of these policies: pre-service teacher education, in-service teacher education, and the teaching and learning of the Indigenous languages. The data to support this study were generated by the countries through a qualitative survey designed by the author and sent to the Education Ministries in the region through the Interamerican Education Commission of the Organization of American States in the summer of 2013.