N�huatl mandatory in public sc hools in Mexico City

Douglas Hinds cedecor at gmx.net
Sun Aug 19 14:08:03 UTC 2007

Hola Maria, Kier, Marcos, chelo and any others following this

Maria Bolivar wrote:

> What I am lamenting is not that they included Nahuatl in the
> mandatory curriculum, rather that they did it as they did, by
> decree

Without a legal disposition no funds would be available for
implementing the program. Since (aside from property taxes) only the
federal government can level taxes, the govt. of the D.F. depends on
funding from the federal govt (governed by a different party) in
order to carry this out. No decree, no funding (and they don't get
enough funds to fully implement their programs, as is).

> and suddenly or as a spur of the moment thing.

We don't really know how much analysis and planning supported the
decision to make nahuatl universally and obligatorily taught in
all of Mexico City's public junior high and high schools.

Nor do we know what motived Marcelo to do this, or what practical
benefits (if any) will accrue from the program if and when it's
implemented, or how well it will be implemented. We'll just have to
wait and see.

Personally, I would like to see more support for the sustainable,
equitable and integral development (and compatible with the C169 of
the the UN's ILO) of Mexico's indigenous communities, so they
wouldn't have to migrate to the D.F. and other overpopulated
megacities (including this one).

I tried calling a friend (Nahua Governor for San Luis Potosi,
Hidalgo and part of Veracruz and Tamaulipas) who teaches in the
bilingual teachers college located in Tamazunchale to see what he
knows about this, as well as an ex-head of Sedesol's (Social
Development Sec.) Indigenous Program (now teaching law in the UNAM)
but neither was home at the moment.

In any case, what's to know? It's too soon! We'll just have to wait
and see what happens, won't we?

Lastly, I think it's important to recognize that in order to get to
somewhere that you want to go, you have to begin from wherever you
are, and a step is a step.

Governments are necessary evils and in the best of cases they design
and implement policies that exploit natural and human resources in
socially and ecologically responsible ways (and they could learn a
lot from their indigenous predecessors in that regard).

I wouldn't expect a whole lot from the present federal govt. in that
sense but they have a chance to do some good over the next 5+ years.
(It would be nice if politicians had to take an oath similar to the
one doctors take: Above all, do no harm).

> Languages like Náhuatl, Huichol, Yaqui, Maya deserve some serious
> attention and the implementation of long term measures so more
> people can access them and teach it. I frankly do not think there
> are many programs in Mexico training teachers of any of the native
> American languages.

> As for English and French, I wish you did not considered them
> odious -as per by decree also-, but useful. We should learn from
> the fact English has been a mandatory language and very few people
> speak it fluently or care to learn it. I would follow the French
> or German education model in that area. French kids do learn
> German, English and Spanish. They spend time in the country to
> perfect it. They choose it because those are the languages of
> their neighbors. You may learn French and English, fluently, in
> Private Mexican Schools but not in Public Schools. My son had a
> teacher in Zacatecas Public School who asked him not to answer and
> who got mad at my son when he attempted to explain to him he was
> misusing a word in English.

Most of the time what's taught is neither English nor Spanish but
rather, English as conceived by someone unfamiliar with it's sounds
and sentence structure.

Agradeciendo   de   antemano  la  atención  brindada,  aprovecho  la
oportunidad para manifestarles la seguridad de nuestra mayor estima.

Douglas Hinds
Centro para el Desarrollo Comunitario y Rural, A.C.
Guadalajara (actualmente)

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