, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 17–34 | Cite as

Turbulence in Bolivia’s normales: Teacher education as a socio-political battlefield



In line with broader politics of change at the national level, the Morales government aims at a radical restructuring of the governance mechanisms for the teacher education sector and a socio-political redirection of its curriculum, as teachers are perceived to be potential agents for decolonization and for developing social justice—or vivir bien (to live well). Morales’ policies are not uncontested, and the tense socio-political state of affairs and political power plays are reflected in Bolivia’s normales, teacher education colleges. They have become a socio-political battlefield where political affiliations, union strategies, and historically embedded institutional cultures all influence the way new generations of teachers are trained, and the way former and current policy initiatives are mediated and adopted. Given the complex and historically embedded socio-political context of struggles and tensions at and around the institutional level, the government still has a long way to go to change the continuing habits of the normales and to put its government’s new ideals of transformation and decolonization into practice.


Bolivia Teacher education Decolonization Institutional governance Socio-political conflict 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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