- Guatemala, the Peace Accords and education: a post-conflict struggle for equal opportunities, cultural recognition and participation in education
- Globalisation, Societies and Education
- Volume | Issue number
- 7 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The Guatemalan educational system has been the most unequal system in the Latin American region ever since the 1950s. The indigenous Maya people, who constitute around half of the population, experienced the state mainly through repression, exploitative labour relationships and exclusion from education. The return to democracy and the peace process instilled great hopes for real change in many civil society organisations, including the Maya movement. Through their participation in national commissions, many of their demands were included in the Peace Accords of 1996. As regards the educational system, the main focus was on the greater participation of civil society, the expansion of educational opportunities, and an overall multicultural educational reform that sought to include the Maya culture and languages in the curriculum. A decade later, most of the agreements have been discredited. Powerful national and international actors have marginalised and undermined nearly all the civil society initiatives through a parallel decentralisation programme that puts the greatest burden on the shoulders of the poorest and the indigenous people. The paper critically analyses the history of the struggles since the Peace Accords, the divergent agendas and the debateable educational outcomes.
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