International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, 25 April: a recent study explores indigenous knowledge and practices in education

25 April 2017
Children and young people of indigenous families remain less likely to be enrolled in school or in training programmes and more likely to underperform than non-indigenous children.  
Ensuring the right to education for indigenous peoples is part of the Education 2030 Agenda. This includes monitoring the right to education, ensuring equitable access to lifelong learning and quality and relevance of teaching and learning. 
The recent publication titled “Indigenous Knowledge and practices in Education in Latin America” explores the idea of an ‘epistemic otherness’ building from the knowledge and values underpinning indigenous social and educational practices. In particular, it looks at how these values and forms of knowledge have been taken up in education policy in three countries of the Andean Region: Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. For every case, an analysis is made of how indigenous cultures and worldviews have been considered in education policy and to what extent they have entered into dialogue with the conceptions of education that preceded their integration. A number of indigenous cultural practices in education are also analyzed in each country along with their potential to enhance cultural and linguistic pertinence, and to provide insight into the feasibility of extending these practices beyond indigenous communities so as to favour inclusion and cohesion among educational communities. This publication is an invitation to consider indigenous knowledge as a legitimate source of inspiration for education policies that may contribute to the well-being of all and to the sustainability of the planet.
UNESCO Policy on Engaging with Indigenous Peoples commits to promoting lifelong learning for indigenous peoples and ensuring their full inclusion in education, such as, through the Effective Literacy Practices for Indigenous Peoples Platform.