Local schools not doing enough to promote Maya culture

Tulum, Q.R. – A recent meeting with Indigenous teachers warns that not enough is being done in local schools to teach and preserve the Maya culture.

Representative of the State Collegiate SNTE Indian Education, Adalberto Yam Pech, says that now, Mayan culture is taught only as one subject and that the Indigenous language should be taught as a major in schools that graduate teachers in order to ensure the promotion of the mother tongue.

Included in this educational sector are about 700 teachers distributed throughout four Mayan-speaking municipalities in Quintana Roo: Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Jose Maria Morelos, Lazaro Cardenas and Tulum. The local native language is taught in about 350 schools in the three levels of beginner, preschool and primary.

Those attending the meeting say that schools of the Indian education system in Quintana Roo, “are not in bad shape, but can improve.” Teachers felt that it’s important to rescue the Mayan language as it is the part of the process being lost.

Yam Pech explains that, “What is missing is the evaluation of our language and that’s the reason why it gets lost, although, it is argued that the language is lost because people venture into tourism and so they stop speaking the language. We really need to turn to authority and support the culture to where many live the Maya way.”

Teachers of Indian education are at the same level as the rest of the teachers who are also subject to competitive examinations before they can fill vacancies. However, some feel that the addition of being able to speak the Maya language is something that should also be evaluated.

Yam Peach said that teachers graduating with a single subject in Mayan culture is not enough. He says that schools need to train teachers, such as graduates of Bacalar Normal, where subjects are incorporated through the National Pedagogic University (UPN), to give graduates a specialized language.

Municipalities that offer the greatest number of Maya-speaking schools are in Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Jose Maria Morelos, where the bulk of people are of Maya decent. Throughout the state of Quintana Roo, there are approximately 64,000 native Maya people.

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