Documento de Trabajo, Instituto de Investigaciones Socio-Económicas, Universidad Católica Boliviana 01/04
Three important educational reforms took place in Bolivia during the 20th Century. The 1905 reform established a national education system. The 1955 reform broadened education coverage and promoted a homogenous national culture. The 1994 reform, currently in effect, restructures the educational system, encourages popular participation, and promotes intercultural education. The role of language in the three reforms underlines the fundamental questions of how educational provision in Bolivia can address diversity and how diversity can shape the nation. Bilingualism has numerous implications for a wide range of policies, and the successful implementation of bilingual and intercultural education as called for in the most recent reform depends in part upon the degree to which language in education policy correlates with other policies which address national diversity. This paper examines successive Bolivian education reforms and their relationship to changing cultural policies on diversity, roles of language in education, and conceptions of national identity.