12 August 2009

Bolivia: Universities for Indigenous Peoples

This story was published by the Latin American Herald Tribune, 12 August 2009:

LA PAZ – The three universities for indigenous peoples promoted by the government of Evo Morales began their activities with a total of 480 students, Bolivia’s Education Ministry said in a communique.

The students, who were selected in indigenous communities and will be able to take advantages of scholarships, began their studies Monday at what Education Minister Roberto Aguilar called an “historic moment for the educational and university environment.”

Aguilar made his remarks on Sunday at the official inauguration of the Guarani-language university at Kuruyuki in the southeastern province of Chuquisaca, which will bear the name of indigenous hero Apiaguaiki Tumpa.

In the town of Chimore will be a Quechua-language institution with the name of Casimiro Huanca.

The other university, Tupac Katari, will be established in the Andean town of Warisata, near La Paz, where the medium of instruction will be the Aymara language.

The indigenous universities “will open up (for the students) not only the Western and universal world of knowledge, but the knowledge of our own identity, culture; without leaving to the side the hope and yearning of the peoples” said the education minister.

Therefore, he urged the students to take advantage of their classes to transfer the knowledge they acquire to their communities.

“You have the right to educate yourselves as part of the right of peoples. It’s a right won with blood and sacrifice,” said Aguilar.

Morales, an Aymara, is the first indigenous president of Bolivia, where Indians make up around 60 percent of the population of nearly 10 million. EFE

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