Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: Interculturality in higher education: A pending task

“Chile is a culturally diverse country. According to the 2017 Census, around 12.4% of its population self-identified as a member of an original people. The Department of Immigration and Migration for its part, has revealed that 7.8 % of the population belongs to migrant groups that settled in the country looking for development opportunities. Thus, around 20% of the population belongs to diverse peoples and cultures that are part of our changing cultural matrix, that is, about 3 , 6 million people in our country.

The recent election of representatives of native peoples, with seats reserved for the Constituent Convention, crucially installed the issue of interculturality and the need to consider the worldviews, traditions and ways of life of these peoples when defining our Charter. Magna. The situation of exclusion of native peoples is not only a social problem related to poverty and inequality. This is related to a demand for recognition, rights and intercultural integration in different areas of life in society.

“The situation of exclusion of native peoples is not only a social problem related to poverty and inequality. This is related to a demand for recognition, rights and intercultural integration in different areas of life in society” – Rector Ignacio Sánchez and Professor Roberto González, School of Psychology.

This historical moment that Chile is experiencing has challenged all the country’s institutions, -including those of higher education-, to promote initiatives aimed at promoting recognition, intercultural dialogue and social mobility of these communities. Considering the fundamental role they play in the training of people, the generation of knowledge, and ultimately, the promotion of new generations of leaders for the country, higher education institutions cannot be left out of this purpose. Furthermore, we have the responsibility to contribute decisively to the development of a cultural change, where interculturality is a central issue for the country. In Chile there are several higher education institutions, -both in the north and in the Araucanía region-,

At UC, we currently have more than a thousand students, fifty professors and two hundred professionals, administrative personnel and workers from indigenous peoples. There are also a significant number of representatives of migrant groups. In order to contribute decisively to increase this presence, we are going to design and implement a set of initiatives that allow us to globally promote the incorporation into the university community of a significant number of people who self-identify with native peoples and / or who belong to migrant groups, promoting training from undergraduate, moving towards postgraduate training and offering the hiring and insertion of a significant number of academics belonging to these groups in the ordinary plants of the university,

“At UC, we currently have more than a thousand students, fifty professors and two hundred professionals, administrative personnel and workers from indigenous peoples. There are also a significant number of representatives of migrant groups” – Rector Ignacio Sánchez and Professor Roberto González, School of Psychology.

In this way, we will strengthen the inclusive admission program, increasing its vacancies in all university majors, reducing selection barriers through special admission systems, within the framework of a new curricular offer. This will be articulated with a robust system of tutorials and academic accompaniment throughout the training process and a seed program that will allow early identification of young people with high potential to pursue doctoral studies. Also, we will strengthen the application and admission to doctoral programs inside or outside the UC of these young people to stimulate the advanced training of future academics at the university.

In all these initiatives, our students, teachers and professionals and administrative personnel who belong to indigenous peoples and migrant communities will play a key role. They will form an essential part of a work team that will develop a policy to promote interculturality at UC, in which authorities, professors, student representatives, the pastoral and other members of our university community will participate. We will promote the development of research and generation of knowledge and thus address the challenges related to interculturality and its recognition in different areas of university work, establishing dialogues with ancestral authorities of native peoples, among other initiatives. In these tasks, theCenter for Indigenous Intercultural Studies (CIIR) , -with funding from ANID’s FONDAP program- , and academics from our Villarrica campus, will play a key role.

“In all these initiatives, our students, teachers and professionals and administrative personnel who belong to native peoples and migrant communities will play a key role. They will form an essential part of a work team that will develop a policy to promote interculturality in UC, in which authorities, professors, student representatives, the pastoral and other members of our university community will participate “- Rector Sánchez and professor Roberto González.

In short, we aspire to promote a profound cultural change in our university environment and in this way contribute to recognize and value interculturality as a distinctive aspect of our society. This is a pending task that we want to take care of. It is a great challenge to assume within the country’s higher education system. “

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