Nueva publicación: ‘Fomentar la conciencia socioambiental de los jóvenes indígenas mediante el aprendizaje basado en el lugar en la Amazonia ecuatoriana’

Un nuevo artículo de acceso abierto por Johanna Hohenthal y Tuija Veintie (y el equipo de investigación) se publica en la revista Globalizations.

Resumen en español: La educación juega un rol fundamental en la preparación de los jóvenes para abordar a los problemas socio-ambientales que amenazan los territorios indígenas en la Amazonia ecuatoriana. En este estudio, nos enfocamos en el aprendizaje basado en el lugar (place-based learning) y analizamos cómo los diversos espacios de aprendizaje en la vida cotidiana de los jóvenes indígenas les permiten la involucración con diversos conocimientos sobre temas socioambientales. Realizamos un mapeo participativo, fotografía y entrevistas con estudiantes de bachillerato en tres unidades educativas interculturales bilingües de la provincia de Pastaza, en Ecuador, para estudiar las percepciones de los y las jóvenes y los “momentos pedagógicos” (teachable moments) para aprender sobre problemas socioambientales. Según los resultados, las experiencias cotidianas de los y las jóvenes, la vida familiar y las reuniones comunitarias ofrecen un valioso espacio para el aprendizaje de los problemas socioambientales locales, el conocimiento indígena y la cosmovisión. Sin embargo, en la enseñanza en el nivel de bachillerato, los temas socioambientales se discuten principalmente como fenómenos globales aislados, mientras que unas conexiones más explícitas con temas ambientales y conocimientos locales contribuirían a pluriversalizar la educación y a apoyar los vínculos territoriales y la conciencia socioambiental crítica de los estudiantes.

Artículo completo publicado en inglés: Hohenthal, J. & Veintie, T. (2022) Fostering Indigenous young people’s socio-environmental consciousness through place-based learning in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Globalizations.

New publication: ‘Fostering Indigenous young people’s socio-environmental consciousness through place-based learning in Ecuadorian Amazonia’

A new article authored by Johanna Hohenthal and Tuija Veintie was published open access as part of a special issue ‘Education and Socio-environmental Justice in the Pluriverse’ in the journal Globalizations.

The article focuses on place-based learning and analyses how diverse learning spaces allow the Indigenous youth in Ecuadorian Amazonia to engage with diverse knowledges on socio-environmental issues. The study draws from interviews, participatory mapping and photography done with and by students in three intercultural bilingual upper secondary schools in the Pastaza province of Ecuadorian Amazonia. The field work was carried out in collaboration between the Nordic and Ecuadorian researchers/university students and supported by the Goal4+ project and the Universidad Estatal Amazónica based in Puyo.

‘The findings suggest that young people’s daily embodied experiences, family life, and community meetings offer rich grounds for learning about local socio-environmental issues, Indigenous knowledge, and cosmovision (worldview). However, in the intercultural bilingual upper secondary schooling, socio-environmental issues are discussed mostly as detached global phenomena, while more explicit connections to local issues and knowledge would contribute to pluriversalizing education and supporting students’ territorial ties and critical socio-environmental consciousness.’

Hohenthal, J. & Veintie, T (2022). Fostering Indigenous young people’s socio-environmental consciousness through place-based learning in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Globalizations. DOI: 10.1080/14747731.2022.2038831


New article: ‘Territorial and mobility justice for Indigenous youth: accessing education in Ecuadorian Amazonia’

A new research article written by Johanna Hohenthal and Paola Minoia (with acknowledgements of the contributions of the whole ‘Goal4+’ research team) was just published (open access) in the journal Mobilities. The article aims to
articulate the relationship between access to eco-culturally pertinent
education, and mobility and territorial justice. It suggests that the “accessibility of quality education should be interpreted as the exercise of the right to education encompassing ecological, cultural and linguistic diversities, and supporting the identities, emplacement and territorial control of Indigenous people.” This definition of accessibility includes three important dimensions: the eco-cultural pertinence of education, spatial proximity and sustainable mode of school travel. The argumentation of the article is based on an analysis of ‘turbulent’ events that have disrupted educational mobility and access to education within the Indigenous territories in the Pastaza province of Ecuador: 1) an education reform that began during rule of the President Rafael Correa in 2011, 2) Indigenous protests linked to territorial struggles, and 3) the Covid-19 pandemic.

The article concludes: “Above all, the realisation of both mobility and territorial justice means the opportunity to make sustainable life choices that do not force uprooting of Indigenous people from their territories but allow access to education and thus participation in the wider society. In addition, mobility justice means the possibility to move in a sustainable way that allows the creation and maintenance of body-territorial connection and learning without damaging the environment. Territorial and mobility justice perspectives should be integrated into the social justice agenda of quality education globally. This would allow the emergence of reformative actions that move beyond the essentialised constructions of the social and educational disadvantages of the Indigenous areas and people, and instead, recognise the particularities of Indigenous places and mobilities and support Indigenous territorial strategies.”

Hohenthal, J. & P. Minoia (2021). Territorial and mobility justice for Indigenous youth: accessing education in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Mobilities (online).

‘Education and Social Justice in the Pluriverse’ – EADI ISS Conference, 5 – 8 July 2021

On Tuesday 6 July, our group was excited because we were finally able to organize the panel at EADI ISS Conference that had been postponed for one year due to coronavirus pandemic. The idea of the panel was at first connected to the forthcoming special issue for the journal Globalizations. Therefore, the panel was included in the category of “harvesting”, meaning that the presentations were on researches at their “mature” stage. The discussion was then based on the drafts the participants had sent beforehand. We had two sessions with nine presentations that looked at pluriversal educational alternatives and critical intercultural education from different perspectives and in different regional and cultural contexts.

Continue reading “‘Education and Social Justice in the Pluriverse’ – EADI ISS Conference, 5 – 8 July 2021”

Participatory mapping of the youth’s living environments in Amazonia

Maps are useful media for illustrating and analysing the spatiality of many social and environmental phenomena. Since the 1980s, researchers have increasingly recognized the value of ordinary people’s local knowledge and perceptions for research and spatial planning (Chambers 2006). Indigenous and other minoritized groups have also started to create their own maps to communicate their place-based knowledge and relations, and to resist the “official” images of the places mediated by the maps produced by external state authorities or scientists (Peluso 1995, Wood 2010, kollektiv orangotango+ 2018). In Ecuador, for example, the community maps recently played an important role in the fight of the Waorani over their right to their territory and in winning a legal court case (Scacca & Nenquimo 2021).

In 2019, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, our project also carried out participatory mapping in intercultural bilingual upper secondary schools in Pastaza province. Three schools were selected for the study: Camilo Huatatoca in Santa Clara (majority of the students kichwas and mestizos), Kumay in the shuar territory and Sarayaku in the kichwa community. We were particularly interested in how the students perceive their living environment and their journeys between home and school. The students were asked to mark on the maps the places they like, do not like, places they think should be improved somehow and the places they find culturally important. In addition, they were asked to point out places where they had encountered some environmental problems. The students were also interviewed about their mappings.

Extract from the map drawn by the students in Kumay. The Río Titinkiem crosses the road near the community of Kawa. Stars indicate the places that the students like (e.g., Río Titinkiem because of swimming and fishing, the road). Red dots are environmental problems (e.g., logging and littering) and the brown ones culturally important places (e.g., Río Titinkiem and a cemetery). The points marked with green stickers need improvement (e.g., a bus stop “parada”) according to the students.

Continue reading “Participatory mapping of the youth’s living environments in Amazonia”

Exclusive distances: intercultural bilingual education during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuadorian Amazonia

Text by Johanna Hohenthal, Katy Machoa and Tuija Veintie

[Haz clic aquí para version en español]

In March 2020, due to the health crisis caused by COVID-19, classes were suspended in all educational units in Ecuador. In general, a prolonged suspension of classes has long-term consequences, particularly for marginalized and low-income groups (Giannini 2020). Therefore, we considered important to monitor the situation in intercultural bilingual schools during the pandemic. Due to the conditions of physical distancing, the research team has been unable to visit schools in the Amazonian region. Instead, we conducted telephone interviews with the principals of the educational units between 11 May and 3 June. We managed to contact 9 of the 14 schools in the Pastaza province that we had visited earlier during the research project. These schools represent approximately half of the intercultural bilingual schools that have a high school level program in Pastaza (AMIE, school year 2018-2019).

Figure 1. Proportion of students attending virtual education in the intercultural bilingual schools in Pastaza according to the estimation of the school principals

The interviews revealed several difficulties in implementing intercultural bilingual education in the Amazonian region during the health emergency. Most school principals and teachers try to work from home but many of them lack the computer and internet connection that are necessary for teleworking and organizing virtual teaching. Similarly, most students do not have the possibility to attend virtual education (Figure 1). However, the third year high school students have somewhat better access to the internet than the other students. One of the principals estimates that in their educational unit up to 70% of the third year high school students participate in virtual education to a certain degree. This is a positive thing, because it is important for the third year students to finish their studies to proceed to higher education or working life. However, for the vast majority of high school students the only option to continue their studies is to use the printed learning guides. Continue reading “Exclusive distances: intercultural bilingual education during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuadorian Amazonia”

Distancias excluyentes: educación intercultural bilingüe durante la pandemia COVID-19 en la Amazonía ecuatoriana

Redacción: Johanna Hohenthal, Katy Machoa y Tuija Veintie

[Click here for English version]

En marzo 2020, ante la crisis sanitaria por COVID-19, se suspendieron las clases en todos los establecimientos educativos en el Ecuador. En general, una prolongada suspensión de clases tiene consecuencias de largo plazo en particular para las personas marginalizadas y con bajos recursos económicos (Giannini 2020). Por lo tanto, consideramos importante monitorear la situación de la educación en Unidades Educativas Interculturales Bilingües (UEIB) en el contexto de la pandemia. Debido a la crisis sanitaria, el equipo de investigación no ha podido visitar las UEIB en la región amazónica, pero realizamos entrevistas telefónicas a los rectores y rectoras de las unidades educativas entre 11 de mayo y 3 de junio. Logramos contactar a 9 de las 14 UEIB en la provincia de Pastaza que habíamos visitado antes durante el proyecto de investigación. Estas unidades representan aproximadamente la mitad de las UEIB que cuentan con programa de estudios en nivel de bachillerato en Pastaza (AMIE, año lectivo 2018-2019).

Figura 1. Proporción de estudiantes asistiendo a la educación virtual en las UEIB según la estimación de los rectores

Las entrevistas revelaron varias dificultades para implementar educación intercultural bilingüe en la región amazónica durante la emergencia sanitaria. La mayoría de los rectores y docentes de los UEIB tratan de trabajar en la modalidad de teletrabajo desde la casa. No obstante, un gran número de docentes no cuentan con condiciones necesarias para realizar teletrabajo o facilitar educación virtual desde su hogar por falta de computadoras y conexión a internet. De igual manera, la mayoría de estudiantes no tiene posibilidad de asistir a la educación virtual (figura 1). Sin embargo, entre los estudiantes del 3º de bachillerato hay más conectividad, y uno de los rectores estima que en su unidad educativa hasta 70% de los estudiantes del 3º bachillerato acceden educación virtual en cierto grado. Esto es algo positivo, porque es importante que los estudiantes de tercer año terminen sus estudios para continuar con la educación superior o la vida laboral. No obstante, para la gran mayoría de los estudiantes de bachillerato su única opción de continuar con los estudios son las guías de aprendizaje en ausencia de la posibilidad de educación virtual. Continue reading “Distancias excluyentes: educación intercultural bilingüe durante la pandemia COVID-19 en la Amazonía ecuatoriana”

Overview of the year 2019 and glimpse to the upcoming project activities

During the year 2019, fieldwork and data collection were the main activities of the project. The project team met during three periods of fieldwork in Ecuador. In January, Paola Minoia and Andrés Tapia interviewed and discussed with key actors, including professionals and experts in education, ancestral knowledges, decoloniality and interculturality, as well as with Indigenous leaders and representatives of NGOs, in Quito and Pastaza. In March-June and September-October, Tuija Veintie, Johanna Hohenthal, Andrés Tapia, Katy Machoa, Tito Madrid and students of the UEA visited the IBE upper secondary schools in Pastaza and interviewed directors, teachers, students and parents. Three schools were selected for more comprehensive field study: UEIB “Camilo Huatatoca” in Santa Clara, UEIB “Sarayaku” and UEIB “Kumay”. In these schools, we conducted a higher number of in-depth interviews with teachers and students, questionnaire surveys, classroom observation, as well as participatory mapping and photography with the students.

Upper secondary school students produced over 20 maps and hundreds of photographs illustrating their school journeys and culturally meaningful places in the Indigenous communities. Sometimes the drawing was a bit challenging. For example, during the thunderstorm in Kumay water dripped to the tables from the roof and there was very little light in the classroom even though it was morning (photo on the right). (Photos: Johanna Hohenthal 2019)

Continue reading “Overview of the year 2019 and glimpse to the upcoming project activities”

Call for Papers: Education and social justice in the pluriverse

We cordially invite contributions to our panel at  EADI ISS Conference 2020: Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice held in the Hague, Netherlands, 29 June – 2 July 2020.

Panel abstract:

The comprehensive development project manifested in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposes through the SDG4 an overall engagement on “quality education for all”. It endeavors to support social justice by promoting equal access to education for the most deprived groups. However, the SDG4 does not acknowledge the existing epistemic diversity around the world and the need to support alternative ways to learn and produce knowledge. Neither does it contain any reference to the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples of 2007. Thus, Indigenous perspectives, knowledges and alternative forms of education remain marginalized. To promote global social and epistemic justice, education should include equal representation of diverse epistemologies, knowledges and educational practices. Without comprehensive understanding of epistemic pluralism, interculturality and hegemonies of power within the society, well-meaning educational programs may end up reproducing models of neoliberal multiculturalism and ideas of primitive otherness, and fail to promote equal relations among existing cultures. Instead, a radical project on intercultural education should reflect the principles of relationality between lands, beings and knowledges (Walsh 2018) linked to the distinctive territorial and ecological realities and sustaining transformation projects to reverse structural injustices.

This session is organised by members of EADI Working Group on “Post- and Decolonial Perspectives on Development and welcomes papers that discuss pluriversal educational alternatives in diverse contexts. We particularly welcome contributions from young scholars and participants from the Global South and/or with Indigenous background. Abstracts of 500-600 words including key literature, theoretical and methodological approaches and keywords should be submitted by 15 December. Authors of accepted abstracts should send draft papers by March 2020. Full papers are circulated within the presenters and organizers before the conference. After the conference, the organizers invite the authors to submit their revised manuscript for possible publication in an upcoming special issue in an international journal.

Looking forward to receiving your abstracts! Please follow the instructions here.

Organizers: Paola Minoia, Johanna Hohenthal and Tuija Veintie, Development Studies, University of Helsinki

Community resistance against school closure in the Shuar territory

Text and photos: Johanna Hohenthal

The government of Rafael Correa (2007-2017) pushed modernization of the education system in Ecuador through the establishment of large millennium schools at the expense of small rural schools [1, 2]. In the province of Pastaza, the government did not close upper secondary schools, but the reform hit hardest to the primary school students whose school journeys became longer due to closing down of community schools. In March, the research team visited the Shuar territory where three primary schools had been closed and several others had barely avoided the closure thanks to community resistance.

Continue reading “Community resistance against school closure in the Shuar territory”