Intercultural universities in Mexico: progress and difficulties

This paper introduces the problem of the very limited representation of indigenous groups in higher education in Mexico, as well as some of its causes, namely: the poor quality of education received by indigenous populations at earlier educational levels; racism and discrimination which are still prevalent in Mexican society and limit options and opportunities open to indigenous populations; and the excessive centralization in urban regions of higher education institutions, among others. It then deals with the experiments that Mexico and other countries have engaged in to increase the enrollment of indigenous populations in higher education institutions. It emphasizes the Mexican experience of intercultural universities, eight of which were created between 2003 and 2007 in different indigenous regions of the country. Their objectives, progress and difficulties encountered to date are discussed. Finally, it reflects on what this means for the advancement of the indigenous movement and the recognition of Mexico as a multicultural country, and proposes a set of recommendations for the immediate future.

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