Schools as seeds : Bridging knowledge systems in the Peruvian Andes
Formal education and traditional knowledge are usually thought of as two entirely separate systems: they often ignore each other, sometimes compete with each other, but they rarely cooperate. They happen in different spaces, use different languages, are transmitted by different people, and reflect different ways of understanding the world. In many indigenous mountain communities, education through the school system is divorced from traditional knowledge which has traditionally been passed on by the community’s elders. This is aggravated by the dominance of one knowledge system over the other, as formal education is often considered by both teachers and parents to be superior to traditional knowledge. As a result, in many places traditional knowledge has been denigrated as primitive or backwards. This has two potentially damaging consequences: first, younger generations are in danger of being cut off from invaluable knowledge about the environment and how to manage it second, the unique forms of social organization and agrobiodiversity associated with this knowledge are at risk of being lost.