Educational Reform and Democratic Practices in Guatemala: Lessons Learned from the Communities in Exile

Michael O'Sullivan

Abstract


The educational reform provided for in the 1996 Peace Accords, which aimed to infuse the history, language, and culture of the Maya people into Guatemala’s national curriculum, has not yet been implemented. The Pan Mayanist educational reform proponents, operating from a position of political weakness, have been unable to convince successive governments to implement these measures. Consequently, educational changes that have occurred, while improving some indicators of student achievement, do not address the issue of the cultural components that constitute the essential ingredients of an educational reform from a Maya perspective. Faced with this situation, local Maya communities, frequently with the support of Maya organizations of civil society, are creating instances of local power where education from a Maya perspective is being implemented in local schools, with or without Ministry collaboration.