The Yanomami Education Project and the public politics of alternative education as seen from the field
About the publication
- Published: 2011
- Series: --
- Type: NGO reviews
- Carried out by: Bruce Albert and Marta Maria Azevedo
- Commissioned by: Rainforest Foundation Norway
- Country: Brazil
- Theme: Education and research
- Pages: --
- Serial number: --
- ISBN: --
- ISSN: --
- Organization: Rainforest Foundation Norway
- Local partner: Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) (Previously Comissão Pró Yanomami (CCPY)), in cooperation with and Hutukara Associacao Yanomami (HAY)
- Project number: GLO-0850/07/387
ISA Yanomami (prev. CCPY) works to support and strengthen the indigenous population in the Yanomami Indigenous Territory, located in the states of Amazonas and Roraima in the North of Brazil. The project focuses on education and capacity building, and works actively towards policymakers to improve public policy.
The evaluation was carried out in October 2011, and includes challenges and is focused on future dilemmas and opportunities rather than being limited to consider results within the context of the project.
The Yanomamis’ history of contact with the national society is relatively recent. Initially the project was a response to the demands of the Yanomami people, that given the intense contact with non-indigenous societies, considered the introduction of a bilingual education as a means to maintain vigor of their own language and at the same time gain access to information and knowledge today crucial to their autonomy. Through the project, ISA has been responsible for training teachers and creating a system of multilingual education, with Portuguese as a second language.
After an initial phase, students chosen by their communities started training through the project and gradually began to act as teachers. Since 2001 the PEY has had two main components: 1) a training program for Yanomami teachers aimed at gaining recognition from the public authorities. By 2009 the first group of 18 teachers graduated and 2) a program of pedagogic monitoring of these schools by field assessors, and the production of educational materials in the local languages.
* Analyse the relevance and performance of the project, including effects on partner organizations and target groups, taking into account the initial project goals and challenges.
* Present recommendations for processes and actions in progress and future planning and decision making, stimulating reflection on the production of knowledge and new educational processes to meet the demands of the Yanomami people.
More specifically this evaluation aimed to verify the relevance of linguistic work and production of teaching materials. It was also important to analyze the effect of the project on the Yanomami generation that participated in the activities, identifying those who followed the whole course of training and are working in schools, those who left and those who migrated to other activities/occupations. Last, but not least, the evaluation aimed to evaluate the efforts and will of the governmental institutions to fulfill their commitments in offering an alternative education to the indigenous population.
A qualitative approach with a strong emphasis on participation. Stakeholders were interviewed, either individually or during meetings held by the evaluators. The methodology ensured effective participation of the team and the directors of HAY and ISA, enabling a process of reflection and learning for all involved. Additionally, relevant documents were analysed.
The Brazilian state today has a favourable legislation to implement educational policies that respect the languages and cultures of indigenous peoples. However, the evaluation finds that the legislation is not bering implemented, despite agreements and promises. In reality the schools seized to function after transition to the state of Roraima.
Efforts were made by the PEY team to initiate a process of discussion and coordination with the authorities, aiming to transfer the responsibility for the teachers training as well as for the schools. However, the process has proved difficult both in terms of legalization and in getting recognition of the teachers programme, as well as for getting recognition of the diversity of the schools in the Yanomami communities.
The Secretary of Education (SECD), who was to assume the responsibility for the Yanomami schools, have proved inefficient, slow and bureaucratic, giving teachers and students en impression of carelessness that, in addition to reducing the PEY pedagogical advisors in the field, have discouraging.
This, together with the loss of funding to the PEY and changes in the priorities over the past few years have had a negative impact on the fate of the Yanomami schools in different regions. Due to the absence of pedagogical assistance in the field, the authorities failure in providing didactical material, and the loss of several Yanomami teachers to other jobs, in many areas schools have been paralysed.
Still insufficiently trained and "abandoned" in the field, many young teachers are losing focus of their responsibilities. In this sense we are experiencing a gradually forming caste of schools without teachers, whose greatest impact on society in worst case might be the transmission to the younger a bad example of consumerism and devaluation of traditional culture.
At the same time, the younger generation are increasingly frustrated that their education will not bring them jobs and money like it did to the older generation, as the potential jobs available are now occupied by their previous teachers.
The evaluation finds the continuation of the PEY to be crucial, and there is a strong need for greater presence of pedagogic assistance in the fields. The HAY should have a stronger ownership to the program.
PEY should not rely on the governmental institutions to take responsibility for the educational programmes, at least not without an extensive transition period. The articulation with governmental organs should mainly go through HAYs Education Dept.
Still, the evaluation finds it crucially to continue working towards the public politics and governmental institutions legally responsible. Not doing so will leave HAY with the enormous responsibility to educate the coming generations; despite that it is the governments responsibility.
The increasing generational division and priorities of the younger generations proves it urgent to map the knowledge of the elder and take initiatives to ensure that the culture and traditional knowledge are passed on the next generations. The evaluation suggests forming a team of young yanomami researchers to map and categorise this knowledge.
Comments from the organisation, if any:
No comments included in the evaluation.