The Mexican Constitution was amended in 1992 to provide that Mexico has a pluricultural composition which began with and continues to include indigenous peoples. Furthermore, the new Constitution revised in 2001 made a provision for the recognition of their autonomy, as well as the respect of their cultures and rights. The government, which previously had aimed to integrate the nation by creating a "homogeneous culture", redefined Mexico as a pluricultural nation, and started to seek national integration within the framework of cultural diversity. Educational policies, which are policies that strongly affect indigenous peoples, also began to be reviewed in the 1990's in order to construct a new Mexican identity.
In rural areas in the second half of the 20th Century, bilingual-bicultural education was introduced in opposition to the integrationist or assimilationist educational policy. This new educational policy, however, had not necessarily functioned, partly due to the ambiguity of bicultural education, the lack of teaching staff, methods and materials. It was substituted by bilingual intercultural education (educación intercultural bilingüe, EIB) in the 1990's.
During this period of changes in educational policies toward its indigenous peoples, Mexico confronted an upheard-of economic crisis. The government adopted so-called neo-liberal policies under the support of some international organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank, and tried to enter into the global market economy -- in other words, "globalization". On the other hand, most indigenous peoples, whose conditions have become worse with the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots, have begun to organize and raise their voices for their own rights and benefits.
The Mexican government, in the face of growing domestic and international pressure to defend the human rights of minorities, was obliged to reform the Constitution to establish Mexico as a "pluricultural nation". What dose this shift imply during the period of globalization? This paper considers this question, focusing on the process of changes in the educational policies, especially the EIB, in relation to the indigenous peoples.