Through a glass darkly? Indigeneity, information, and the image of the Peruvian University

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Using a survey of Cusco secondary students from 1985, and data from a survey of Peruvian workers in 1991, this essay discusses the degree of "realism" in students' expectations of the economic benefits of going to university. Public universities, like national school systems, are often seen as socially integrative institutions in countries which are marked by ethnic and class inequality. This view prevails even when university education is known to confer rewards unequally among ethnic groups, e.g., in Peru to the Spanish-speaking and minority Quechua-speaking populations. The puzzle of the continued high expectations of university, even among indigenous, Quechua-speaking students, is explored in this article. It is found that students' access to information, and their academic ability, both increase the realism of expectations among Spanish- and Quechua-language boys from Cusco. Yet, tellingly, this realism reduces the university benefits that are expected among Quechua students with higher grades in Peruvian history, and among Quechua speakers who read newspapers frequently. The opposite pattern is seen among Spanish speakers: more frequent readers of newspapers, and better history students, expect higher salaries as a result of going to university. The implications of the findings for social integration in societies such as Peru are discussed in the conclusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-295
Number of pages25
JournalHigher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Through a glass darkly? Indigeneity, information, and the image of the Peruvian University'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this