Contact Information

Intercultural Bilingual Education in Latin America (IBE)
Siltavuorenpenger 5 A
P.O. Box 9
00014 University of Helsinki
juan.llorente [at]  

Cooperation and funding:

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
of Finland


The project employs one full-time researcher, Dr. Juan Carlos Llorente.

Since May 2008 Dr. Kari Kantasalmi has been focusing his research on comparing the development of Sámi Higher Education and the various initiatives of organization of Indigenous Higher Education in Latin America. In addition to research and consultancy activities the project bears relation to the teachings of the Institute of Behavioural Sciences through courses of Comparative Education and Schooling & Development.

In the framework of the project there is currently one post-graduate student Tuija Veintie, preparing her Doctoral thesis "Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge in the Intercultural Bilingual Teacher Education Programme in the Ecuadorian Amazon".

The purpose of Veintie's ongoing research project is to examine how the indigenous knowledge is incorporated in the policies and practices of the IBE teacher education programme. The main data for this study has been collected in an ethnographic study in one teacher education institute in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The students at the institute represent Amazonian indigenous populations, and the teacher educators are of indigenous or non-indigenous origin. Theoretically the research leans on post-colonial and critical theory. Methodological underpinning is in ethnography and educational anthropology. Results of this study can be used to improve intercultural teacher education, and in the production of culturally pertinent educational materials, which can make a remarkable contribution to the quality of education of the indigenous populations.

MA student Ninni Saarinen is preparing her master's thesis – titled “Development of Forestry Curriculum in a Bolivian Indigenous University ‘Universidad Indígena Boliviana UNIBOL Guaraní y Pueblos de Tierras Bajas “Apiaguaiki Tüpa” – as part of the project.

The context of the study is a Bolivian indigenous university, UNIBOL Guaraní, and forestry teaching given in that university. The aim of the study is to reveal dialogue between indigenous and western knowledge used in the university, especially in relation to forestry teaching. The main data includes interviews conducted at the university. The interviewees were teachers and students of forestry career as well as the principal of the university. Also representatives of the indigenous organizations and of communities (sabios) were interviewed. Results of the study can be used to develop the integration of indigenous and western knowledge into forestry teaching.