Half of indigenous children denied education in first language

20 September 2013

Almost half of Peru’s indigenous children cannot access education in their first language, according to a new report published by the human rights ombudsman, the Defensor del Pueblo. 46 per cent of children and adolescents from indigenous communities do not receive education in their mother tongue, said the mid-September report.

Nationally, more than one in ten children speak an indigenous language as their first language. In highland regions such as Huancavelica and Apurímac, the proportion is over 60 and 70 per cent respectively.

Barriers to intercultural education include limited resources – most regions devote less than 1 per cent of educational spending to it – and a lack of bilingual teachers. Indigenous rights groups have called for more specialist teacher training.

The Defensor Eduardo Vega Luna said that, “The historic exclusion experienced by indigenous peoples demands greater effort by the state to reduce the existing educational gaps.” However he welcomed the Education Ministry’s work to provide bilingual educational resources.

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