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Historical and Political Overview of Ecuador

Education is an important component of this policy. Members of the community became active participants in the education development process by collaborating with research, preparing teaching materials, and selecting and training teaching personnel. The "Macac" model encourages a truly bilingual approach: "Barriers between speakers of Spanish and indigenous languages are avoided, and assimilation into the dominant culture is resisted by strengthening channels of communication between members of the same ethnic group" (Yanez Cossio, 1991, p. 59).

Critics of the "Macac" model claim that the program is too radical. For instance, in some parts of the country, the Spanish and Quechua languages are being consolidated, rules of written syntax are being established, and new literary styles are developing (Yanez Cossio, 1991, p. 64). Critics warn that the success of the "Macac" model would require a social revolution and unprecedented cooperation from the dominant, Spanish-speaking society. Supporters of the "Macac" model insist that such a social revolution is necessary "to meet the aspirations of the indigenous peoples, and to permit the integrated development of the country as a whole" (p. 61).

The success of the "Macac" program in Ecuador is critical because a significant portion of that country's rural population is excluded from education. Therefore, the educational component of the "Macac" program focuses on youths between the ages of 10 and 15 years. Education is not universal in Ecuador. The most recent data indicates that 25 percent of children aged 6-12 do not attend school. The proportion is higher in rural areas (40 percent) and lower in urban areas (10 percent). Grades 1-6 experience a dropout rate of 57 percent, with the rural rate (75 percent) much higher than the urban rate (33 percent). The government began making concerted efforts to strengthen its education system during the 1970s and, consequently, en...

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