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CASE STUDIES
Mixe Community Institute

The Mixe Community Institute "Kong Oy", in Oaxaca, Mexico, is an educational, research and service center born out of a community necessity for an institution which would truly serve educational needs of the Mixe people. The Institute provides the support and framework needed for solving other types of problems now facing not only this community but the whole region; in particular, the emigration of indigenous young. This is caused by the lack of opportunities for development, along with the gradual loss of cultural values by the assimilation of other ways of life.

This institute is an educational family, it is based on the direct participation of the community, thereby forming a project discussed and accepted by all members of the community. The institute benefits from professional people who participate in educational "tequios" or community volunteer service, filling out a faculty of 12 teachers specializing in different areas. The administration of the school is divided into three areas: the director general, with a sub-director; the academic director; and the administrative director. A board of trustees, with representatives in the city of Oaxaca and of Mexico, promotes support for the institution. The parents of the students contribute a monthly quota of one day of "tequio" or service for each student and are organized in a parents' committee.

These studies are recognized completely by the federal secretariat of public education (SEP) through the system of open senior high schools, though it is actually based in the community school. The curriculum consists of 10 subjects per semester: six from the open school system of the SEP and four community subjects (co-curricular); these last give special emphasis on providing for the cultural and educational requirements of the people from an indigenous point of view, with subject matter such as: reading and writing the Mixe language; music; community law; human development; Mixe history; and productive handicraft shops.

Being a community alternative to a senior high school level, this Mixe community has had to initiate its activities without economic support from any institution, which requires the whole town of Tontontepec to contribute actively to get this project started, while recognizing nevertheless, that the needs for continuation of this community scheme are very large and that there is a dire need for solidarity with institutions, organizing and many people to enable it to continue on.

Mixe people have established the Mixe Community Institute as a way to preserve their culture, customs and language, taking the education of Mixe youth in their own hands!


Cite as: Youth Sourcebook on Sustainable Development. Winnipeg: IISD, 1995. Online. Internet. http://iisd.ca/youth/ysbk113.htm.

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