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2011 - 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society Words: 244 words || 
1. Lopes Cardozo, Mieke. "Decolonising the education system in Bolivia: Ideology versus reality" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, <Not Available>. 2019-08-22 <>
Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: A new political and ideological wind is blowing through Latin America, creating new spaces for contestation of neoliberal structures. In line with these developments, the current ‘politics of change’ of Bolivia’s first indigenous president Evo Morales include a new ‘decolonising’ education reform called ‘Avelino Sinani Elizardo Perez’ (ASEP). This law is being designed as a response to the former ‘imposed’ neoliberal education reform of 1994, as part of a larger ‘socialist’ political project of the Morales Government. This paper focused on this major reform in Bolivia, informed by Latin America debates on coloniality that perceive education systems as conservative, Eurocentric and exclusionary. Building on these debates, Bolivia’s proposed education transformation involves four pillars: 1) decolonization, 2) intra- and inter- culturalism together with plurilingualism, 3) productive education, and 4) communitarian education. This paper analyses various concerns and challenges faced by Bolivia’s decolonizing education reform. It argues that the absence of clear policy in this transition phase, and lack of consensus on the meaning of the four pillars of the new law, have resulted in an educational impasse. Moreover, although ‘participation’ is presented as a crucial aspect of the policy design process, we argue that many actors feel excluded, while there is considerable resistance from particular groups (e.g. from teachers, the church, the old elite) to the reform plans. The paper concludes by highlighting the still open nature of this policy reform, and its potential to promote unity or create deeper divisions in the Bolivian society.

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