Indigenous knowledge and education from the Quechua community to school: beyond the formal/non-formal dichotomy

Elizabeth Sumida Huaman, Laura Alicia Valdiviezo

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25 Scopus citations


In this article, we propose to approach Indigenous education beyond the formal/non-formal dichotomy. We argue that there is a critical need to conscientiously include Indigenous knowledge in education processes from the school to the community; particularly, when formal systems exclude Indigenous cultures and languages. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Quechua schools and communities, our examination of policy and teachers in the formal setting reveals overall contradictions towards practice, where the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge, language, and community participation remains largely symbolic, despite genuine efforts from those who support Indigenous revitalization. Further, an exploration of Wanka Quechua community educational practices focused on local ecology demonstrates that community education exhibits a structure that is culturally inclusive, intergenerational and values-driven, and rigorous and complex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-87
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Participant observation took place for over 10 weeks in each of the three schools, with approximately 25 hours of instruction per teacher. The researcher also taught Spanish and English to all grades, traveled daily with teachers to school, and lived with teachers on school grounds. Fieldwork outside schools included participation in teacher institutional and family events, and in six mandatory EIB in-service teacher trainings sponsored by the Ministry of Education.


  • Indigenous community
  • Indigenous education
  • Quechua


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