Despite the level of determination, Guatemalans have the lowest level of educational attainment in Central America, particularly significant when considering the fact that over half the country’s population is under 18 years of age. Over half of Guatemalans lives within a measure of poverty, some very extreme, and a majority of the people live within territorial boundaries, in small, medium, and large-sized pueblos, some of these in remote mountain regions, characterized by specific culture, language, politics, and history, to name a few. The educational policy change initiated by the government is challenged because of its disregard to diversity, to the linguistic and cultural uniqueness in each of the 22 ethnic groups. The reform plan includes the elimination of the teacher institution (magisterio) and replaces it with costly, unaffordable university-based designs that remotely address the true nature of the educational problems.
In this research paper we used a contextual framework of social justice, inclusive of historical and political ramifications, to describe and analyze the following: a) the conflict(s) arising from the new government’s change agenda in education; b) the role of the United States in Guatemala’s decision making and policy development; and c) the consequences as the direct result of the government’s changes, especially amongst the diverse indigenous communities.
We framed our study within a comparative perspective and viewed Guatemala not only as part of Central America but also, as an integral member of all Latin America. As such, the scope of our research has broad implications for other countries, including Mexico.
The Time for Change in the Worst of Times
Guatemalans are living in the most challenging of times; some would argue that conditions are just as worst or more so then during the armed conflict between 1960 and 1996 (see Burrell, 2013). Undoubtedly, the country’s most principle need for reform is in the educational system. Even though great strides have been achieved through the sheer determination and persistence of the people, Guatemala has the lowest level of educational attainment in Central America. The government statistics point to 96 percent attendance level of children in primary grades, but this number excludes the 1.5 million children with excessive school absences, mostly due to economic hardships.1 Dropout rates are exceedingly high and only less than 10 percent of the student population attends the university. The crisis level is alarming when considering the fact that over half the country’s population is under 18 years of age.
At the heart of the current political struggle that pits community and students against the government is in the training of teachers. Many arguments point to the need for improvement and change in the preparation of teachers as the most important strategy that may positively impact educational achievement. Students pursuing their preparation in teacher training colleges, called Escuelas Normales, and the communities that support them, have embarked in an intense campaign to repudiate the proposal from the Minister of Education to eliminate the current gratuitous programs and replace them with costly university-based designs that don’t even address the true nature of the educational problems. The students attending Escuelas Normales, or Normalistas, object to the proposal for many reasons and they have been vocally opposing these measures for almost a year. Still, to date, the Ministry of Education has refused to engage in substantive dialogue with the students and other stakeholders.
In this research paper we used a contextual framework of social justice, inclusive of historical and political ramifications, to describe and analyze the conflict(s) arising from the new government’s change agenda in education; the role of the United States in Guatemala’s decision making and policy development and the motivating factors; and the consequences as the direct result of the government’s changes, especially amongst the indigenous communities. Most of our work was completed in the field, and was based on anthropological perspectives of maintaining objectivity while collecting data using qualitative modes of inquiry: Our fieldwork took place in a community in the city of K’iché (in the highlands of Guatemala in the Department of Quiche) for six weeks in the Fall of 2012. The collection of data included photos, field notes, interviews with formal and informal protocols, transcripts and notes of the interviews conducted with various members of the community; archival data from internet sources, including official government web sites and other various sites such as the USAID and Ministry of Education; social media sources, including blogs, newsletters, and other news sources. Also included were interviews with community leaders, organizers; photos of community members in action, such as in school and in home and meetings; videos of community members in action; and published research studies. One member of our team served as a volunteer/participant observer for four weeks in a community school.
We used “documentation’ from all of the sources to focus on the lead questions. The “narrative” emerged to provide us with insights into contextual environment inclusive of various social, cultural, economic, and political factors, which then led to the development of “discussion queries,” by which we drew analysis and eventually, conclusions. Triangulation of the data was used in every way possible to divert from a unilateral perspective or biasness.
What is the Ministry of Education’s Proposal?
Prerequisite to understanding the content and implications of the Ministry of Education’s (MINEDUC) proposal are some vital facts. In Guatemala’s educational system students first complete six years of their compulsory primary education, then continue to Ciclo Prevocacional or Middle School for three years. Students that follow the carrera magisterial to become primary teachers continue to Secondary Education, Ciclo Diversificado or Diversified Secondary for two years. At Tertiary Education stage, students complete three years of study at a teacher training college or Escuela Normal, which allows them to teach at a primary school. To receive the title of “professor” students must complete an additional three-year program at a university. A four-year university program leads to a Baccalaureate in Arts and Science.2
The pathway to the formation of teachers is as important as the physical, geopolitical, economic, and demographic landscape of the country in understanding the tensions and conflicts behind the peaceful resistance and demands of the students and their supporters (see Arnove, 2005). Over half of the country lives within a measure of poverty, some very extreme, and a majority of the people live within territorial boundaries, in small and large-sized pueblos, some of these in remote mountain regions, characterized by specific culture, language, politics, and history, to name a few. Thus, diversity, with all its amplifications, is a major factor that underlies every aspect of the proposal and rebuttal.
The main points in the MINEDUC proposal are:
- Eliminate the “magisterio,” which essentially means to change radically the current system of preparing primary school teachers.
- Replace the “magisterial” system of preparing teachers with a university program that requires students to complete a Bachillerato en Ciencias y Letras. So in essence, students must enroll and complete a three-year university program in order to qualify for the title of “professor.”
- To implement a teacher training program for pre-primary teachers in the Escuelas Normales, public or private. Technical assistance is programmed for this program and for the Bachillerato en Ciencas y Letras.
- To seek incentives to increase the salary of graduates from the proposed program wherever they are hired to teach.
- To provide scholarships (in 2015) for graduates of the proposed program to continue their studies (as post-graduates) in private or public universities (the only public university is University of San Carlos).
- To offer courses in conjunction with the Bachillerato in Ciencias y Letras that includes agroforestal (forestry), turismo (tourism), and textiles, among others.
Several key points in the Normlistas’ rebuttal are valid in the sense that they posit realistic concerns that challenge MINEDUC to provide a response accordingly:
- The proposal does not address how the proposed changes will purportedly impact positively the quality of education on a short and long-term basis. There’s no information that addresses the improvement levels at the university-based programs, in fact, the Normalista’s rebuttal asks who will be in charge of their program at the university level where resources are scarces and irrelevant to the needs of the educational programs in the pueblos and rural communities.
- Eliminating the magisterial and requiring students to complete university programs translates to an economic burden on behalf of the students and their families. The MINEDUC proposal includes the participation of the universities, however, the only public university that doesn’t charge tuition is University of San Carlos (USAC); the other eight or nine are private universities that require students to pay tuition. The Normalistas are concerned that USAC lacks sufficiently the capacity and resources so that most of the Normalistas will have to attend a costly university program. This point underscores their secondary concern that MINEDUC’s proposed changes are meant to enrich the private universities, or to put it in another way, it is a strategy to privatize teacher education. Additionally, the proposal doesn’t address how the universities will effectively improve teacher training.
- There is no guarantee that the proposed changes will lead to an increase in salaries for the graduates.
- The scholarships proposed by MINEDU are not meant for the students beginning their training. These are proposed for graduates as post-graduate scholarships that are clearly meant for private universities. Again, this is a clear instance validating the Normalistas’ claim that the proposal is focused on the privatization of the professional training of teachers.
- The proposed changes undoubtedly reduce the opportunities for students to pursue a teacher credential. Presently, less than 1 percent of the indigenous student population attends the university. But besides that, the proposed changes lack credibility in demonstrating how these changes will improve education, not only for the teachers-in-training, but for the school children as well, on a short and long-term basis.
Bilingual Intercultural Education
The loss of the magisterial will drastically change the Bilingual Intercultural Education programs. The Normalistas are proud of the fact that the 18 Escuelas Normales in the country train teachers to help students become bilingual in Spanish and one of the four language groups: K’iche, Kaqchikel, Q’eqchi, and Mam. Their concern is that a university-based program does not have the capacity or resources to carry out the programs in an effective manner. The community support garnered through these programs is immeasurable and closing the magisterial will inadvertently cause problems of maintaining the engagement by the communities. In this light, the Normalistas’s claim that their rights to their language and culture in an educational setting will be violated is a valid one. The Bilingual Intercultural Education Program is described in the MINEDU’s website.3
The Role of the United States in Guatemala’s Neoliberal Politics
In 2009, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) distributed funds to Guatemala’s governmental agencies that totaled 32.1 million dollars.4 Funds earmarked for Education and Social Services were 5.9 million, for which 5.5 million were specifically for Basic Education and $400,000 for Higher Education. Guatemala’s Ministry of Education has a website specifically dedicated to USAID’s educational program, Reforma Educativa en el Aula,5 that include broad educational goals for the time frame 2009-2013. While USAID and the Guatemala MINEDU’s educational goals are similar, a pronounced difference exists as listed below:
o To strengthen the capacity of institutions.
o To improve instruction in the classroom.
o To promote access to quality education to underserved populations, women, and Mayan groups.
o To provide strategies for parents, communities, and leaders to participate actively in education of students.
Difference in Goals:
o MINEDUC – To increase effectiveness or improve teacher training (“prácticas docentes”).
USAID does not specify a goal toward teacher training improvement but does mention in the needs statement that the lack of educational attainment by students is due to “poor teacher training.” If MINEDUC subsumes this goal as an objective in conjunction with the goal, To strengthen the capacity of institutions, there is no mention of this in their related statements. Furthermore, it’s questionable whether eliminating the “magistrial” is keen to strengthening the capacity of institutions.
However, to understand the underlying motives for the goals and objectives stated by both the United States’ USAID agency and Guatemala’s MINEDUC it’s necessary to analyze the philosophical differences and historical facts that shed light on a broader perspective of the problematic issues.
USAID History and Politics
USAID was launched during President Kennedy’s administration in 1961.6 Since then, its evolution has resulted in the distribution of foreign aide to hundreds of countries and in the creation of partnerships with corporations and non-profit organizations. Currently, they have personnel in 100 countries including Guatemala and El Salvador in Central America. According to the agency, one of their most successful strategies is partnering with more corporations that have increased their funding levels. The overall goal of USAID has not changed in the 50 years of its existence.
USAID’s Goal: Furthering America’s foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free markets while also extending a helping hand to people.
USAID’s Goal in conjunction with Guatemala: Guatemala has the potential to become Central America’s largest economy and United States leading partner.
The Results and Accomplishments stated by the USAID offer insight into their perceptions and expectations of Guatemala and can be interpreted as incentives or rewards for future funding. According to their statements, Guatemala’s MINEDUC has achieved success in the following areas:7
- The MINEDUC has the support of the educational communities for the K-9 national education content standards.
- MINEDUC has implemented an innovative standardized test in Spanish and in nine Mayan languages to hire and place teachers.
- MINEDUC has made strides in addressing transparency and efficiency in the Ministry of Education that resulted in an international certification system for management in 2007.
- MINEDUC has developed a Municipal Education Progress Index, i.e., the use of data spreadsheets to analyze and compare school operations against student achievement levels, or what we know as accountability system.
- MINEDUC has assessed and produced a list of basic competencies for secondary students (grades 9th to 12th) that are needed to be competitive in the labor markets.
Additionally, USAID and its corporate partnerships claim success with MINEDUC that has resulted in over 51,825 scholarships, outreach programs for at least 300 at-risk youths. However, this information has not been verified with MINEDUC.
USAID’s funding level for Guatemala in education, health, and nutrition activities has totaled 10 million dollars according to their website’s information. This information lacks verification as well.
Whether MINEDUC uses the leverage from USAID’s funding to substantiate their political strategies under the banner of Reform is open for interpretation. However, by accepting USAID’s funds, MINEDUC has the responsibility to comply with the funding requirements. Clearly, USAID’s motive behind the funding distribution is to garner the support of the Guatemalan government to accelerate the country’s efforts toward economic recovery that would be beneficial and profitable to the United States. The educational practices noted in the Results and Accomplishments list are squarely aligned with the United States educational model that privileges a capitalistic approach or a market-led reform of education for economic gains. It’s well noted in Latin American history that the tension between capitalism and socialism is heightened during economically stressful periods (Arnove, 2005). If the United States and Guatemala work together in reforming the country’s educational system, then this collaboration can be viewed as an influential strategy by both countries to steer Guatemala away from socialistic reforms, even though capitalism is not a viable solution for a country with enormous, complex economic issues. A free market economy inherent in a market-led reform would best serve the interests of the wealthy in a country like Guatemala. Thus, what appears to be an educational reform model that purportedly will lift the country out of economic turmoil and succeed in improving the educational system is more like a roadmap toward disaster.
Historical and Political Background on the Minister of Education
When Guatemala’s president, Otto Pérez Molina took office on January 14, 2012, his vision of change for the education system in a country of over 11 million people, was firmly rooted in a far-reaching plan that embraced notions of economic globalism. He wanted a fearless Minister of Education that shared his passion for an “all or nothing” educational reform that would catapult the country into the international global arena, and he’d receive the accolades from world leaders for his efforts in transforming Guatemala. He found the person in Cynthia del Aguila, educated in the United States, a former professor at Guatemala’s private Universidad del Valle, and in her early career had held different positions at the Ministry of Education in Guatemala. At the time that del Aguila was appointed she was employed with the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International based in North Carolina in the United States and had worked there for seven years as an educational manager. At RTI, her main responsibility was with a United States agency called Allianzas, which was devoted to forging partnerships with the private sectors in Guatemala. In del Aguila’s reform plan the solution was quite simple: eliminate the Magisterio, the current training college system consisting of Escuelas Normales, and the Normalistas will have to attend the private universities, thus creating governmental partnerships with private institutions of higher learning. But students, parents, community leaders, and supporters have steadfastly repudiated the reform agenda, and for almost 12 months after del Aguila unveiled the plan they have organized and participated in non-violent protests, sit-ins inside and outside facilities, marches, rallies, and used the social media to their advantage. Police have used tear gas and arrested protesting students. The embattled del Aguila refuses to concede defeat for doing so may cost her the job as Minister of Education.
Acción de Amparo
On February 25, 2013, the latest legal action taken against the Ministry of Education, called the Acción de Amparo, was submitted by the Consejo Nacional Permanente de la Reforma Educativa, the social leadership organization representing the Magisterio. In this document, the Consejo asks the court for a legal proceeding that will order MINEDUC not to eliminate the Magisterio. 8 The document, Acción de Amparo9 makes reference to the key role of the Consejo Nacional in the decision-making process as stipulated in Article 12 of the Ley de Educación Nacional10, and that MINEDUC overstepped its authority, a violation of human rights, when it disregarded the required proceedings and approval of the reform plan by the Consejo. The Corte Suprema de Justicia (Justice Supreme Court) must decide on the Acción, whether to halt or allow the reform to continue as initiated by the MINEDUC, although the MINEDUC can appeal the decision against it. This was the case the first time the Acción de Amparo was submitted against MINEDUC in November of 2012.
The Corte Suprema de Justicia granted approval for the first temporary Acción de Amparo but as reported on November 27th by Prensa Libre.11 Del Aguila announced that the Ministry would appeal the court’s decision. Del Aguila’s comments alluded to her conclusion that since the previous agreement on the magisterial teaching careers had expired in 2011, the MINEDUC had followed appropriate steps to include a process of feedback and input from the institutes and colleges on the new program for teacher training. Del Aguila emphasized that the MINEDUC has every authority to make decisions on how to train teachers as well dispense decisions regarding the careers of teachers. Furthermore, she added that it is the MINEDUC’s responsibility to renew programs that have expired under its authority.
But less than two weeks later, in response to an appeal filed by MINEDUC the Corte Suprema de Justicia reversed its decision, revoking the Amparo on the basis that it lacked sufficient substance. Speculation was raised on whether the MINEDUC’s move to enter a counter legal action in case it lost its appeal was influential in the Corte’s decision to overturn the Acción.12
The MINEDUC maintains its authority as the supreme entity that has the sole responsibility and right to make decisions on which reform plan to institute without regard to the democratic participation of stakeholders, even when such inclusion is stipulated in national proclamations. Pres. Pérez Molina has not publicly commented on del Aguila’s hard line posturing of MINEDUC’s authority. His silence may well be interpreted as an unequivocal approval of the actions of his appointed Minister of Education.
Charges of Racism and Discrimination
While MINEDUC maintains its course toward full implementation of the reform agenda, communities such as the Pueblo Xinka have charged the Ministry with racism and discrimination. 13 The Pueblo Xinka consists of 400,000 people from three departamentos (states) in southwestern region of Guatemala bordering El Salvador. The parliamentary board of Xinka has formally complained that their requests to the MINEDUC for teaching positions in their Xinka/Spanish Bilingual Intercultural Education program have been ignored. They have waited for a response since 2011, despite the fact that since its initial start four years ago, 60 bilingual students from the Escuelas Normales have successfully completed their training and 300 more Normalistas are enrolled in the program. They claim that their educational rights as a Pueblo inherent in the national proclamations including the constitution protect their language and culture in the school curriculum. The fact that MINEDUC has refused to support them is an affirmation of the agency’s deliberate negation of their rights. MINEDUC’s proposed reform agenda would eliminate the Escuelas Normales that have educated the students like those in the Pueblo Xinka, and accordingly, eliminate or reduce the quality of Bilingual Intercultural Education programs.
Decreased Funding Formula and Decentralization
If del Aguila’s plan for decentralization of educational funds is implemented as her announcement has declared, schools will be in total control of their spending for all of their educational needs.14 In light of the decreased funding formula for primary education, this strategy will cause friction amongst school communities, especially in small pueblos and rural areas that have scarce resources. Both the decentralization in the funding formula and the MINEDUC’s reform agenda may result in a chaotic landscape of communities fending for their specific educational needs and while some may succeed, those with less funding and other resources will certainly lose.
From the outset, Minister del Aguila was determined to accomplish a task for which she had been especially selected. Indeed, overhauling the country’s educational system is akin to rebuilding a county from the ground up. Whether she or President Pérez Molina knew what was at stake and that the complexity of the task would produce a Pandora’s box are difficult to analyze without firsthand knowledge. But, what is clear is that del Aguila didn’t launch a leadership agenda; her priority was and continues to be a task-fulfilling role rather than assuming a leadership in the Ministry of Education. A leader understands fundamentally the role of education in every aspect of society. Experience, perception, insight, and knowledge – all are essential in a leader, but the people of Guatemala want someone that understands them and can bring hope into their lives. Pérez Molina has to assess whether he has chosen the right kind of leader to take charge of probably the most important and challenging social issue of his presidency.
The Normalistas are within their right to protest and demand change in all aspects of their teaching profession and in the educational system. They have the support of their constitution, and other official proclamations for their rights. Their community lends support to their demands. But, without the cooperation of MINEDUC, a meaningful, sustainable plan toward improving education that is in the best interest of the Guatemalan people will not be realized.
Historical analyses of educational reforms in contexts of post-war conflicts and economic and social instability have produced a collection of various recommendations and caveats. Consistent with a human rights approach is the common view that, for example, education should be inclusive, relevant, sustainable, and democratic. The community must be engage and have a clear voice in the “public debate” over what constitutes education for all children. Access to education is not sufficient; individuals must be able to overcome economic, social, and cultural barriers. What is clear in Guatemala’s educational reform process is that educational issues are inseparable from the expansive context that includes the legacy of colonialism and social and economic inequalities (Tikly, 2011).
The uphill battle for educational equality is well documented by researchers and noted in the responses by protesting students. The unequal and elitist schooling system in Guatemala’s history is the common story throughout Latin America, including Mexico. But Guatemalans have less access to education in the primary grades than other countries, particularly among the rural poor and girls. The inequality contrasts sharply with the privileged elite that have the resources, political clout, and social mobility that allows them entry into the most competitive sectors of the global society (Reimers, 2000).
Other related research has focused on Lifelong Learning ideals as a basis for an educational reform plan for countries such as Guatemala (Carneiro, 2013). Aligned with this model is that lifelong learning (LLL) both embraces and responds to change. Thus, the curriculum centers on respecting context, history, languages, cultures, and heritage while advocating for empowerment in the citizenry and promoting diverse modes of learning. The democratic citizenship, which is the basic structure founded on the common understanding of human rights, recognizes the value and dignity of all human life. The culture of peace, rejects violence as a controlling mechanism and advocates for democratic negotiations to advance solutions and ideas.
Guatemala’s educational reform process has evoked anger and frustration among teachers, students and families. However, the community responses have been characterized by democratic deals despite the heavy handedness of the country’s administration. Democracy is foremost the modus operandi by its people, clearly an example of the strength and determination of the Guatemalan citizens.
In conclusion, I include an excerpt from the Diseño Reforma Educativa
Runuk’ik jun K’aka’a Tijonik, (the Educational Reform design) published in 1998. In these introductory paragraphs, the Reform is designated specifically for Guatemala. The main points, translated from the original Spanish text are the following (full text in Spanish found in Appendix A):
- The commission has as its main charge to design an educational system that has the obligation to the Peace Accords, in particular the “Acuerdo sobre Identidad y Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas,” that grants the rights to the indigenous population to their identity and culture;
- The main goal is to reach common ground that serves as the basis for the national project;
- The process includes the seeking and engaging in the transformation of attitudes that facilitates in a better understanding of others;
- To respect and value the cultural diversity of the country; and
- To attain mutual agreement, dialogue and harmony based on organizational principles of equity and equality.
The question remains: Which is the best road that will lead Guatemala to a better future? No doubt, the teachers, students and their families carry this enormous responsibility.
- For many children in Guatemala, lessons have to be learned in the streets. Article by Jessica Shepherd for the Guardian. Accessed October 24, 2013, from http://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/mar/08/global-campaign-for-education-guatemala.
- Education system in Guatemala. Accessed October 24, 2013, from http://www.classbase.com/countries/Guatemala/Education-System.
- Ministry of Education website. Accessed October 24, 20`13, from http://www.mineduc.gob.gt/DIGEBI/.
- USAID Dollars to Results. Accessed October 24, 2013, from http://results.usaid.gov/guatemala.
- Reforma Educativa en el Aula. Accessed October 24, 2013 from http://www.reaula.org.
- USAID History. Accessed October 24, 2013, from http://www.usaid.gov/who-we-are/usaid-history.
- USAID Education. Accessed October 24, 2013, from http://www.usaid.gov/guatemala/education.
- Otro amparo por reformas a la Carrera magisterial. Article published in Prensa Libre by Hugo Alvarado y Alex Rojas on Feb. 26, 2013. Accessed October 24, 2013 from http://www.prensalibre.com/noticias/justicia/amparo-reformas_0_872912729.html.
- Accion de amparo. Accessed October 24, 2013, from https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=7bdfe400ca92465c&id=7BDFE400CA92465C%21113&authkey=!AKzUW4fT-pcz6OQ#!/view.aspx?cid=7BDFE400CA92465C&resid=7BDFE400CA92465C%21113&app=WordPdf&authkey=%21AKzUW4fT-pcz6OQ,
- Ley de Educación Nacional. Accessed October 24, 2013 from http://www.marn.gob.gt/aplicaciones/normas10g/pdf/307.pdf.
- CSJ suspende temporalmente bachillerato en educación. Article published by Prensa Libre on November 27, 2012. Accessed October 24, 2013 from http://www.prensalibre.com/noticias/politica/Dudas-rodean-magisterio_0_818318175.html?print=1.
- CC revoca acción contra cambio en Carrera de magisterio. Article by Byron Rolando Vasquez published in Prensa Libre on Dec. 12, 2012. Accessed on October 24, 2013, from http://www.prensalibre.com/noticias/justicia/Revoca-accion-cambio-magisterio_0_827317272.html.
- Pueblos Xinkas exige educación bilingüe. Article published by CPR-Urbana on Feb. 26, 2013. Accessed on Oct. 24, 2013, from http://cpr-urbana.blogspot.com/2013/02/pueblos-xinkas-exige-educacion-bilingue.html.
- Déficit de maestros en priprimaria y básicos es del 50%. Article by Prensa Libre published on Feb. 27, 2013. Accessed on Oct. 24, 2013, from http://www.prensalibre.com/noticias/politica/Deficit-maestros-preprimaria-basicos_0_873512856.html.
Arnove, R. (2005). Globalisation and public education policies in Latin America:
Challenges to and contributions of teachers and higher education institutions. In J.
Zajda, International handbook on globalization, education and policy research:
Global pedagogies and policies, (431-442). Springer: Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
Burrell, J.L. (2013). Maya after war; Conflict, power, and politics in Guatemala. Austin:
University of Texas Press.
Carneiro, R. (2013). Living by learning, learning by living: The quest for meaning. International Review of Education: Journal of Lifelong Learning, 59:3, 353-372.
Tikly, L. (2011). Towards a framework for researching the quality of education in low-income countries. Comparative Education, 47:1, 1-23.
Zajda, J. (Ed.). (2005). International handbook on globalization, education and policy
research: Global pedagogies and policies. Springer: Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
La Comisión Paritaria de Reforma Educativa
-COPARE fue constituida por Acuerdo Gubernativo
No. 262-97 de fecha 20 de marzo de 1997,
el cual establece como objetivo de la Comisión:
“diseñar una reforma del sistema educativo, en
la cual deberá considerarse lo que al respecto
contemplan los Acuerdos de Paz, particularmente
el Acuerdo sobre Identidad y Derechos
de los Pueblos Indígenas, numeral III, Derechos
Culturales; literal G, Reforma Educativa, numeral
La Comisión quedó formalmente instalada el
2 de abril de 1997 y se integró con diez personas:
cinco representantes del Gobierno de la
República y cinco representantes de Organizaciones
Indígenas. Al aceptar el mandato que
le fue confiado, la Comisión estableció como
principios internos de trabajo: la apertura, flexibilidad
y tolerancia, por parte de todos sus
integrantes, con el fin de alcanzar un objetivo
común: establecer las bases para construir un
proyecto educativo nacional propio. Con ese
objetivo, se buscaron transformaciones actitudinales
que implicarán conocer y comprender
mejor al otro y al mundo; respetar y valorar
la riqueza y diversidad cultural del país; y favorecer
el entendimiento mutuo, el diálogo y
la armonía; lo cual significó organizarse bajo
principios de igualdad y equidad.
*This paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the World Education Research Association in Guanajuato, Mexico, November 18-22, 2013, and published in part in this blog and others. All Rights Reserved.