Working together for Indigenous Peoples’ rights

published 26 October 2011 updated 3 November 2011

EI’s Regional Office in Latin America in cooperation with the Union of Education in Norway have released a joint publication focused on the situation of Public Education for Indigenous peoples.

Intercultural Multilingual Education in Latin America compiles a series of case studies within the five Latin American countries with the largest indigenous populations: Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. It also includes Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay and comments on Norway’s Sami people.

As well as covering the current status of intercultural education in Latin America and the processes driving it today, the text also deals with the conflicts encompassing this area.

The study highlights deepest transformations towards the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights have recently taken place in Bolivia and Ecuador. In Bolivia, Evo Morales’ Government has passed an educational law guaranteeing every citizen’s right to receive free intercultural education.

However, as Chilean researcher and coordinator of the publication Juan Arancibias stated, there’s still a long way to go: “Constitutional recognition of the state’s bilingual and multicultural nature is important and represents a breakthrough. But this does not mean the benefits of this recognition are being felt in everyday practice yet.”

Unions have an important role to play in fighting against discrimination. “Indigenous education must be included on the trade union agenda, while exchanges and dialogue also need to be established. Inclusion and participation of indigenous teachers make stronger trade unions” said EI Coordinator, Rebeca Sevilla.

To download the whole publication please click here(PDF).

Interview with researcher Mr Arancibias at EI's 2011 World Congress (in Spanish):