Education Ministry Recognizes 24 Languages from Peru’s Amazon

Amazon alfabetsPeru’s Education Ministry officially recognized the alphabets of some 24 indigenous languages, mainly from native groups from the country’s Amazon rainforest, daily Peru.21 reported.

The measure makes the use of the languages a requirement, when necessary, in all public institutions in Peru in dealings with the different language communities.

The Ministry of Education is implementing school texts in the different languages — bilingual education programs usually begin teaching young children in their mother tongue and incorporate Spanish as a second language at around the age of seven.  The results include strong self-esteem and identity, as well as good grammar and reading comprehension skills in Spanish.

The languages that were recognized are: Harakbut, Ese Eja, Yine, Kakataibo, Matsigenka, Jaqaru, Nomatsigenga, Yanesha, Cashinahua, Wampis, Secoya, Sharanahua, Murui-Muinani, Kandozi-Chapra, Kakinte, Matsés, Ikitu, Shiwilu, Madija, Kukama Kukamiria, Ashaninka, Ashawi, Awajún and Shipibo-Konibo.

Previously, the only indigenous languages that were officially recognized throughout Peru were Quechua and Aymara, which are spoken in the Andean highlands.

Some of the Amazonian languages are currently used in public schools in Peru as part of a commitment to offer children education in their mother-tongue.   The Ministry of Education said it is working on producing school texts in the various indigenous languages. It also has a bilingual teacher training program and works, in conjunction with international aid organizations, with teachers in different communities and indigenous organizations as well as education organizations.

Ashaninka is used in 814 bilingual education institutions —mostly in the montane forest of Ucayali, Apurímac, Ayacucho, Cusco, Huánuco, Junín and Pasco—while Awajun is used in 770 public schools, in the northern departments of Amazonas, Loreto, San Martín and Cajamarca, as well as Ucayali. Shawi is also used in 268 schools, and Shipibo-Konibo in 299.

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