The study of ancient knowledge is part of careers such as Anthropology and is the subject of research in higher education centers.
Two private higher education technical institutes offer the career that grants the specific title of Superior Technologist in Sciences and Ancestral Knowledge (third level) within their academic offer and a public university addresses the subject in their undergraduate careers.
But the rest of the public and private universities and polytechnic schools in the country also include ancestral knowledge as a subject in the careers that merit it or do research on it.
By constitutional mandate, ancestral knowledge must be incorporated into the curricula of higher education, science, technology and innovation to promote scientific and technological development.
But what is ancestral knowledge and what is its field of labor action?
Florencio Delgado, director of the Anthropology career at the San Francisco de Quito University (USFQ), affirms that ancestral knowledge requires research and transmission of that knowledge.
“To know what ancestral knowledge is, you have to apply the same Western research system because it has been parallel to the scientific one. Ecuador being a megadiverse country has an amount of ancestral knowledge that if it is not studied because it can disappear, it is necessary to study it thoroughly”, It indicates.
In the USFQ, ancestral knowledge is studied from various angles, especially in the Anthropology career, of which archaeologists are part. “There are a number of experiences necessary for the future because people believe that what happens now never happened in the past and it does not.”
An example is the various periods of glaciation that implied the decrease in temperatures (cooling) of large areas of the land that the inhabitants faced in the past. “Then you study how climate change was dealt with at the time.”
Archaeologists recover ancestral knowledge when they do research and in other university careers, since that knowledge is integrated. “An anthropologist studies the different practices of midwives in ancestral medicine and then medical schools can do parallel work or take research from anthropology to incorporate that knowledge into everyday life and in academia. Ancestral knowledge is reconstructed from various edges, ”says Delgado.
The Los Andes Higher Technological Institute of Social Studies (Ilades) based in Quito and the Jatun Yachay Wasi Higher Technological Institute in Colta (Chimborazo) they are the private ones that grant the title of third level.
And the Intercultural University of Indigenous Nationalities and Peoples Amawtay Wasi, created in August 2018 in Quito as community public, has the Language and Culture career, available in the last academic offer of application of the Senescyt.
The Ilades indicates on its website that Superior Technology in Sciences and Ancestral Knowledge “intends generate alternative spaces so that traditional knowledge transmitted from generation to generation, (and that is the foundation of culture), promote a new vision that is very necessary to understand diversity in the feelings, thoughts and actions of peoples”.
The Jatun Yachay Wasi Institute adds that ancestral knowledge is in “the collective memory of peoples (grandparents are speaking libraries) that tell us their stories, legends, myths. Also features of his teachings have been codified over time through symbologies impregnated in different elements, as well as his practices transmitted in agriculture, astronomy, construction systems, medicine, ceramics, weaving, among others.”. It also delivers the titles of Superior Technology in Andean Agriculture and Superior Technology in Andean Constructions, both were available in the last academic offer of 2021.
The Occupational field includes the same higher education institutions or those dedicated to research related to the subject, the management of activities with products and services that adopt the sciences and ancestral knowledge or care with the use of energetic and therapeutic practices of non-traditional medicine.
Like working like advisor or researcher in cultural centers, museums, foundations and tour operators and promoter and cultural manager of intercultural events.
Khristian Almeida, director of the Ilades Science and Ancestral Knowledge Career, affirms that future generations are excited to pursue careers other than the classic offers that, in general terms, are found within the national higher education system, whose job positions each they are more saturated every time.
“They see in this vital area of knowledge a real option to undertake new activities that, based on the recovery and dissemination of traditional and ancestral knowledge, allow them to work on their own and, thereby, to strengthen our cultural identity.”.
He adds that it is essential that higher education institutions finally pay adequate attention to the training of this type of professionals.
Solutions from the past can work in the present
The different professions incorporate ancestral knowledge that is investigated from anthropology, says Delgado. “The civil engineer wants to recover the way the Incas made the road, for example”.
This ancestral knowledge and the way to face problems in the past has been changing and evolving. “Society has always been dynamic, we don’t want it to be frozen either, ancestral knowledge will continue as it responds to current problems”, Assures the specialist.
A technique used in the past in the Costa region of the country to prevent flooding was the system of camellones (canals) that today could well solve this problem, says the anthropologist Delgado.
“Now millions of dollars are needed to dredge the Guayas River and that is because All those sediments that were previously distributed by channels in those agricultural areas are no longer there and as a solution, flood control was carried out. So all that mud that was left in the basin providing nutrients is now suspended at the entrance of the estuary because the sea rises, the river goes down and every ten or fifteen years you have to dredge”.
Delgado says that with this ancestral knowledge millions can be saved, the soil of the basin is improved and much more would be produced.
The option to study to obtain a specific degree in ancestral knowledge is recent
The career of Higher Technology in Sciences and Ancestral Knowledge is new in the country. It was approved on April 8, 2020 by the Council of Higher Education (CES).
As it did not exist, says Almeida, he demanded a “solid feasibility project presented for the redesign and approval of the career” by the Ilades.
“It becomes a real need and valuable opportunity to have a profile of professionals who are capable of recovering and protecting the ancestral memory of our country expressed in its different cultural traditions in order to be able to fully align with the high national objectives” adds Almeida.
The study modality contemplated is face-to-face with a duration of 5 academic periods (2 and a half years) in its conventional version. “There is the option of taking it in the abbreviated time of a calendar year within the Knowledge Validation Program ”, assures Almeida.
The professional practices and the connection with the community are made through an inter-institutional agreement between Ilades and the Tsáchila community and with relations with the different communities and peoples of the highlands, the east and Afro-Ecuadorians, says Almeida.
Model to articulate ancestral knowledge in higher education
The Academic Regulations of the Council for Higher Education (CES), the body that approves university degrees, indicates that interculturality must be linked to training fields.
“The curriculum must incorporate criteria of interculturality at each level of training, curricular organization and training field.”
This legal framework details three ways to do this incorporation. The first is through so-called learning models. With the “contextualization of learning through educational methodologies that promote the recognition of cultural diversity and the dialogue of knowledge. It will develop the reference to knowledge belonging to different worldviews, epistemologies or perspectives of peoples, nationalities or sociocultural groups (gender, age and others) ”.
The second is through academic itineraries that imply the “creation of subjects and specific courses or itineraries within a career or academic program, which integrate ancestral knowledge and practical application in certain fields of professional training, provided that their coherence and relevance are guaranteed” .
And the last one is the intercultural models of higher education, that is, the “generation of comprehensive intercultural educational models, through the design and implementation of careers, programs or the creation of higher education institutions or their academic units, specific to these. purposes”. (I)
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