Espinal Meza, Silvia Larisa (2017). 'The right to an Intercultural Bilingual Education (EIB) in Peru: reflections on children’s rights and capabilities in an Amazon school in Lima.' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Cape Town 2017.
Education in rural spaces has been experimenting changes and interesting transformations during the last years in Peru, a country where education is a priority for the current government who are investing near 3.5% of GDP in order to improve quality and conditions within the educational sector. Despite the fact that gap of access in the country is closing (near to 100%), still remain a huge problem of inequality related to the quality of learning where children who live in rural areas reports the lowest levels of achievement in national and international assessments (PISA, TERCE, etc.). Thus, rural areas have been impacted by these issues and, at the same time, education is changing most of values and aspirations in children and youth within the school. In this sense, public policy does not have the tools to address these topics in the micro-level. For these reasons, Capability Approach (CA) emerges as an important framework to evaluate transformations and well-being in educational matters taking into account people and their own values, perceptions and the opportunities to convert resources into “capabilities” (Walker and Underhalter, 2007).
Although the Peruvian government is concerned about the quality of education, is it not enough to ensure this dimension if the macro level (public policy) do not establish a tie with micro level (values, perceptions, discourses). These interchanges in rural spaces are part of topics which have a weak analysis from the studies in development and education in Peru. However, rural areas are not spaces with rigid boundaries and traditional dynamics. Nowadays, the concept of “new rurality” expresses the multiple changes and transformations in rural contexts where modern and traditional values coexist into the same space. Here, schools are implementing a curriculum following the model of education provided by the Ministry of Education but it is suitable to remind that education “may also explicitly or implicitly embody values” (Vaughan & Walker, 2012). Thus, it represents a panorama where education demands new approaches and investigations to analyze and make new contributions. For that, some questions emerge: How formal schooling impact over student’s values within rural spaces? What perception of inequality and social justice do students and teachers have? How is recreate the dynamic of interrelations between traditional and modern values in schools? What sort of capabilities schools are promoting among students?
To address these questions the aim of this paper is to explore children and youth’s values into an upper secondary school in order to discuss the relationship between macro level (public policy) and micro level (perceptions, discourses, values). In this sense, “schools can have a pivotal role in inculcating values and norms, for instance, values related to nationalism, religion, civic behavior, culture” (Vaughan, 2016:209). For this purpose, this research has selected two secondary schools in Piura, a region in the north of Peru and specifically in Huancabamba, where the gaps of access are closing, but remains a huge problem related to the model of education and learning in rural contexts. These schools are promoting activities related to rural spaces, but are experimenting problems with official curriculum and student’s demands. Thus, these schools imply an interesting case of study such as a small district where agriculture and activities related to native knowledge are confronting the traditional model of education.
For these reasons, these schools represent an opportunity to investigate the changes and transformations in educational system since the voice of youth (in upper-secondary level, 5° grade) and teachers in order to explore their values and capabilities associated with “new rurality” and transformations in the educational field. In this sense, this research is considering the last grade at a secondary school because represents a transition for students who are taking their own decisions and, at the same time, they have been impacted by the changes in the model of education. Regarding methodology, the investigation is based on a qualitative approach to ensure a deep analysis of values and capabilities from the voice of teachers and students at the secondary level. For instance, a total of 10 interviews (students and teachers) are considering for each school. Thus, through interviews and participatory methodologies (such as focus groups) the first findings suggest interesting values associated with “labor”, “cultural knowledge” “education for local entrepreneurship” and “education for work” since the youth’s views who are challenging the curriculum and pedagogical model of learning in these schools. Moreover, in a “new rurality” context these findings under CA can contribute to discuss the public policies and approaches in curriculum and models of teaching associated with values and aspirations in Peru in order to reduce inequalities and promote opportunities into the schools associated with freedom and wellbeing.