Popular Education in Latin America: An Effective Tool for Social Change?

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The purpose of this paper is to present and analyze some of the problems found in implementing popular education programs in Latin America based on the author's observations during her experience at the Center of Social Investigation, Appropriate Technology and Training (CISTAC). Popular education is a form of non-formal education associated with the poor and oppressed in developing countries. It is considered a tool for social change and claims the goal of creating a more equitable society by raising consciousness, inspiring mobilization and organization of popular social movements, and ultimately, altering social and political structures. Over the past few decades, popular education programs have received attention from international development organizations attempting to solve development problems. This study was done as a response to the author's frustration with glaring deterrents to CISTAC's impact and some contradictions found in their work. Some of CISTAC's short-comings are attributed to issues in popular education in general while others refer to issues surrounding organizational management. Based upon this review of popular education, the author offers recommendations for CISTAC to take toward maximizing their impact within the field of popular education as a tool for social change in Bolivia.


International and Comparative Education | Latin American Studies

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