Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Radio education in the Andes during the second half of the 20th century

Cant, Anna (2021) Radio education in the Andes during the second half of the 20th century. In: Beezley, William H., (ed.) Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Oxford Research Encyclopedias. Oxford University Press (U.S.). ISBN 9780199366439

[img] Text (Radio education in the Andes during the second half of the 20th century) - Accepted Version
Download (334kB)

Identification Number: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.013.978


In 1947, a Colombian priest, Padre José Joaquín Salcedo Guarín, established a small radio station in Sutatenza, Boyacá to provide basic literacy education for poor peasants. Over the course of the 1950s and 1960s, Salcedo’s pioneering example gave rise to hundreds of similar initiatives across the Andes. Amid widespread illiteracy, entrenched poverty, and a mountainous terrain that limited access to state institutions and the mainstream media, radio was seen as a technology of immense promise that could increase education levels and stimulate development. The escuelas radiofónicas (radio schools) were an innovative form of distance learning designed to be followed in groups within the home or in a community building. In other parts of the world, radio education was largely delivered by secular agencies, but in the profoundly Catholic Andean region they had a strongly religious character, being operated by priests and funded by international Catholic organizations. Although hailed by many for their transformative impact on rural communities, others criticized their “developmentalist” assumptions and tendency to spread anticommunism. Initially focused on basic numeracy and literacy, radio schools later included programs on agricultural techniques, health, family relationships, music, and spiritual guidance, which were accompanied by newspapers, pamphlets, and readers. Peasant leaders and so-called auxiliaries were recruited and trained to promote radio school attendance and reinforce new ideas and practices. As the tenets of liberation theology filtered out through the Latin American clergy in the 1970s and 1980s, radio education acquired a more activist tone and moved away from didacticism toward community participation, often having a cultural and political impact far beyond that intended in the 1960s. Cultural and economic changes of the late 20th century brought an end to many such radio schools, but a number persist and radio continues to be vitally important among rural Andean populations.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Oxford University Press
Divisions: International History
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2021 15:00
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 05:55

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics