In Colleges Before Columbus, Steven Crum indicates that “An age-old tradition of advanced higher education exist­ed in the lower Western Hemisphere (Mesoamerica and South America) centuries before the arrival of the first Europeans. Various groups of native peoples, commonly referred to as Indians, created advanced schools to perpetuate knowl­edge as well as native traditions.”[1] This realization exposes individuals to an interesting school of thought that influences their perspectives towards the approaches used in modern institutions of higher learning. Even though the Mayan and Aztec communities in Mesoamerica have not been credited for their innovative practices, they played a huge role in influencing the techniques adopted by the Euro-Americans who have credited themselves for introducing the world to the current system of education. Therefore, individuals should familiarize themselves with the historical outcomes that highlight accurate accounts of various outcomes, which have a significant impact on people’s perspectives towards life.

In Central America, the Mayans were the first cultural group to establish an advanced system of education that focused on enhancing the knowledge of individuals. Although little is known about this population group that existed in the Golden Age, existing studies indicate that the Mayans had created an advanced society even before the age of civilization. Importantly, the society looked just like the measures adopted today by advanced economies. For instance, the Mayans had urban centers, ball courts, and astronomical observatories, which exposed individuals to an enabling environment where they could understand the outcomes of events in their surroundings. Markedly, the Mayans came up with a written language, which has become an element of study in modern research. Besides, they developed a 365-day calendar and another one that had 260 days for ceremonial purposes.[2]

Unlike the Mayans, whose history is little known, the Aztecs information background is easily available because of the impact of their innovative practices on global perspectives towards education. Importantly, the Aztecs had the Calmecac, which was labelled as the Aztec center of higher education. The Calmecac model was replicated in different areas within the Aztec community to expose individuals to an enabling environment where they could access information about their different expectations. Considering the measures used to overcome different situations, the process of acquiring information was streamlined to promote knowledge in the community that would enable individuals to make informed decisions when they encounter difficult scenarios.

Since the Aztec was a religious community, the priests were appointed as teachers in the Calmecacs. Students were introduced to disciplines such as astronomy, philosophy, and arts. Other subjects included dance and music, public speaking, and religion. Given the continued pressure of the young generation to take the lead after their parents, the students were taught the different aspects they would use to become future leaders. From this realization, their introduction to public speaking played a critical role on the approaches that would be used to accomplish different outcomes in their immediate environment. The emphasis on discipline and self-control was influenced by the need to take charge of future responsibilities that would be left vacant following the low productivity of the current leaders at the time. Unlike today, students who were exposed to the education system came from different backgrounds, a move that sought to demonstrate the best interests of the Aztec community in their young people.

In the Aztec community, learning was a mandatory practice that enabled individuals to comprehend their best approaches that would enable young people to accomplish their desired milestones. Importantly, learning was conducted both at school and home, with parents and other educated people in the community taking the lead to promote the transfer of knowledge to the young people. Notably, parents taught their children up to 14 years of age when they would relocate to the learning institutions to receive the advanced knowledge from the dedicated priests.[3] However, girls were exposed to a different system of learning that differentiated them from their male counterparts. In their respective learning pods, girls were taught aspects such as household skills, religious practices, and singing. The Telpochcali exposed boys to military training, geometry, and general literacy.

World history plays an important role in exposing students to an enabling environment where they can connect with historical outcomes that have had a significant impact on the modern world. In this regard, students have the opportunity to think along the past and utilize the perspectives to formulate viable solutions about problems affecting individuals today. Studying world history enhances the thought process of individuals and equips them with a significant understanding that can be used to accomplish different aspects that contribute towards the emergence of various items affecting life in the contemporary world.




Crum, Steven J. “Colleges before Columbus: Mayans, Aztecs and Incas offered advanced education long before the arrival of Europeans.” Tribal College 3, no. 2 (1991): 14.

History on the Net. “Aztec Education: Learning at home and school.” History on the Net,

Smithsonian National Museum. “Living Maya Time.” Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian,

[1] Crum, Steven J. “Colleges before Columbus: Mayans, Aztecs and Incas offered advanced education long before the arrival of Europeans.” Tribal College 3, no. 2 (1991): 14.


[2] Smithsonian National Museum. “Living Maya Time.” Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian,


[3] History on the Net. “Aztec Education: Learning at home and school.” History on the Net, 


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