Bilingual Intercultural Education System of Ecuador has coverage of 163,900 students
Ecuador has been, since immemorial times, a multinational and multilingual country.
One of the most important processes in the social history of Ecuador in recent decades is undoubtedly the emergence of ethnicity and the consolidation of the indigenous movement as a prominent political player on the national scene.
The different nationalities that inhabit Ecuador are: Awa, Eperara Siapidaara, Chachi, Tsa'chi, Kichwa, A'i (Cofan), Pai (secoya), Bai (Siona), Wao, Achuar, Shiwiar, Sapara and Andoa.
Every nationality has the right to have their own education in their own language according to the Ecuadorian constitution.
Besides these nationalities there are descendants of the Valdivia nationalities Huancavilca, Manta, Yumbo, etc., and the Afro-Ecuadorian and mestizo populations.
Since the early twentieth century, the issue of education in rural areas has been repeatedly considered essential by all those interested in improving the living conditions of the indigenous population.
It is important to remember the pioneering schools sponsored from the thirties in Cayambe by the emblematic figure of Dolores Cacuango, for whom literacy was an instrument of the liberation struggle.
The heroes of the struggle of indigenous people’s rights at the start of the 20th century made possible the emergence of a first generation of leaders who, through their own training, were assuming the demand for indigenous learning as a strategic factor in social change
In the negotiation process of the present system of indigenous education, some leaders had initial approach as the indispensability of bilingual and intercultural education for all Ecuadorians.
The implicit reasoning was simple: multiculturalism, to be effective, would have to be equal.
The Current Situation
According to the current education legislation in Ecuador the learning rates of individuals, their psychosocial aspects, creative abilities and ancestral knowledge are to be respected.
Equally the knowledge and understanding of other cultures that contributes to the harmonious development of the individual and the environment (Sumak Kawsay) is to be incorporated to the curriculum.
The Intercultural Bilingual Education Model (MOSEIB from its Spanish initials) is the ideological, cultural and philosophical reference that has guided the educational process of the indigenous people and nationalities of Ecuador since its inception 25 years ago.
Its creation was vital to change the established design of one homogenizing model of education, which did not take into account the cultural and linguistic diversity of the students.
The bilingual education consists of 10,000 teachers and 2,700 schools that are located in the four regions of the country and are members of the 14 indigenous nationalities have the Ecuador.
The bilingual intercultural education system has a coverage corresponding to 163,900 students from community based childhood education in the family, basic education, secondary education to training for youth and adults.
Special Education and Bilingual Intercultural Education
The basis of MOSEIB is the respect and care for Mother Nature; the individual, family and community as key stakeholders in the education and beginning of the education process at an early age.
The education is centered to the student's culture, surroundings and world view.
This is an ideal situation for students with special needs.
The disabled and special needs students have historically been excluded from education in indigenous communities.
With the change in education they finally have their opportunity to learn and to be included in the community.
This is a model developed by the indigenous people to fully exercise their collective rights.