Alphabets of 24 native languages made official in Peru

(Andina) Alphabets of 24 native languages were made official in Peru by the Ministry of Education (Minedu) in a bid to promote social inclusion and respect the right of indigenous populations to preserve their cultural identity.

The said languages include Harakbut, Ese Eja, Yine, Kakataibo, Matsigenka, Jaqaru, Nomatsigenga, Yanesha, Cashinahua, Wampis, Secoya, Sharanahua, Murui-Muinani, Kandozi-Chapra, Kakinte, Matses, Ikitu, Shiwilu, Madija and Kukama Kukamiria.   

This is the result of the technical work carried out by Minedu in coordination with native populations, which approved such tools to preserve and use their languages for written as well as spoken communication.

Such languages had been previously recognized through Minedu’s directorial resolutions, but on Saturday, June 13, they were made official through ministerial resolution No. 303-2015-MINEDU.

This way, all public organizations are required to use the 24 alphabets every time written information is issued to those ethnic groups in conformity with Law 29735, which regulates the use, preservation, development, recovery, promotion and spread of Peru’s native languages.

Used in 814 Intercultural Bilingual Education (IBE) centers throughout Ucayali, Apurimac, Ayacucho, Cusco, Huanuco, Junin and Pasco regions, the Ashaninka alphabet attained official status as well. Awajun language was also included as it is spoken and written in 770 public schools across Amazonas, Loreto, San Martin, Cajamarca, Ucayali and Callao regions.

Also in list are Shawi, a language used by students and teachers from 268 education centers in Loreto and San Martin; and Shipibo-Konibo, a language written and spoken in 299 public schools in Huanuco, Loreto, Madre de Dios, Ucayali and Lima.

So far, Quechua and Aimara had been the only native languages recognized as official in Peru since 1985.

Compared to previous years, when the State did not give priority to Intercultural Bilingual Education among ethnic groups, Minedu is currently implementing an inclusive policy covering production and distribution of texts and educational materials written in different native languages.

This way Minedu respects children and teenagers’ right to receive education in their mother tongue. It has been proven they learn more effectively this way, because they feel more motivated and because their cultural identity is respected by enhancing their self-esteem.