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Peru: Ombudsman’s Office asks to prioritize the Education of Indigenous Peoples in…

… Light of Serious IBE Deficiencies

Servindi, July 25, 2011 – The Ombudsman’s Office called on the next government to prioritize the education of the indigenous peoples in light of the serious deficiencies in the implementation of the Intercultural Bilingual Education (IBE) as made evident in Ombudsman’s Report 152: «Aportes para un Política Nacional de Educación Intercultural Bilingüe a favor de los pueblos indígenas del Perú» (Contributions to a National Policy on Intercultural Bilingual Education for the Indigenous Peoples of Peru).

The research, which was presented yesterday, concludes that there are not enough bilingual teachers, both appointed and under contract, who are specialized in IBE, and they do not receive sufficient training while teaching. According to the 2008 School Census, 54% of teachers have received training and only 2.3% have a degree.

This indicates that indigenous children and adolescents do not receive quality bilingual education that takes into consideration their culture. Schools do not have enough educational materials. We know that materials were only produced for 15 of the 55 Amazon languages between 2005 and 2010.

In addition, a small percentage of children receive IBE. Only 32% of children from 3 to 5 years old and 38% of children from 6 to 12 years old attended an IBE school in 2008. It is worth mentioning that IBE is not implemented in high school.

The state also lacks sufficient information on the IBE demand (languages and ethnic groups) and the met and unmet supply (teaching positions, teachers and schools, among others). Meanwhile, the education sector has not determined the IBE service components (teacher profile, curriculum, teaching process and educational material).

The different national, regional and local entities of the education sector are also not managed in a systematized and coordinated fashion. “Regulations exist, but they aren’t fully implemented. IBE is a policy that fails to materialize in practice,” says Alicia Abanto, Head of the Indigenous Peoples’ Program of the Ombudsman’s Office.

Given the shortcomings, indigenous students achieve low levels of academic performance. The 2008 Census Evaluation indicates that 96% of the students tested (primary school) did not achieve the performance expected in the comprehension of written texts in their own language.

Priorities to Improve IBE

Given the problems in the implementation of IBE, the report makes reference to a series of urgent recommendations that must be considered by the incoming administration. First, an IBE policy must be implemented at all levels of regular basic education (preschool, primary and secondary) in both rural and urban areas.

It is also a priority to approve a new National IBE Plan in order to establish appropriate monitoring and evaluation goals and indicators and to create a National IBE Advisory Committee that guarantees the participation of indigenous peoples through their most representative organizations.

We must increase IBE teacher training, especially in regions that need it. We must also modify the regulations on the hiring and reassigning of teachers in bilingual teaching positions in order to appoint bilingual teachers who are familiar with the culture and language of the indigenous people and who are trained and specialized in IBE.

It is important to strengthen the institutional framework and management of the Intercultural Bilingual Office (DIGEIBIR) of the Ministry of Education in order to perform these duties. It is urgent that we guarantee the availability of educational materials in all indigenous languages and the development and adoption of curricular documents needed for their diversification.

Among the other recommendations, the Ombudsman’s Office recommended that Congress increase the budget of the education sector in order to improve the access to and the quality of the indigenous peoples’ education.

The current Ombudsman, Eduardo Vega, concluded that “the disparity in education cannot be resolved without the political will to significantly increase the investment in indigenous peoples. At the same time, it will not be possible to improve it, if interculturality is not the central focus of the public management of the education sector.”

The Ombudsman’s Report was drafted based on the audit of 16 Regional Departments of Education (DREs), 50 Local Education Management Units (UGELs), 54 institutions and different areas under the Ministry of Education between 2008 and 2010. Furthermore, it was also made possible thanks to the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Paul Martín, representative of UNICEF Peru, and Gerardina González, Deputy Regional Director for the Americas of the International Labor Organization (ILO), were on hand when the study was presented.

Read Ombudsman’s Report 152 by clicking on the following link:


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