Cusco makes official a new ordinance that requires all schools to teach Quechua, revindicating the region’s cultural heritage.
“Quechua isn’t just a language that the Incas left us,” says Peruvian soprano Sylvia Falcón in a promotional video for Ñuqanchik, Peru’s 1st news channel produced in the indigenous language.
Why? Although the Inca’s declared Quechua as the official language of their empire centuries ago, it is still spoken by nearly 8.5 million people in the Americas today, at least half of which are in Peru, according to Cerron-Palomino’s estimates cited in UCLA.
The initiative seeks the reversal of the social stigma around Quechua.
Remezcla shares the story of a young Peruvian who moved to Cusco and wanted to learn Quechua. Yet, it was difficult for him to find a teacher. Many who could speak the language denied it out of shame of their indigenous identity – something that centuries of colonial and state oppression of the culture have ingrained into the population.
The new law requires all schools from primary to university levels to teach students oral and written Quechua as a requirement for completion of their certificate or degree, according to Peru.com.
Considering that 12-15% of Peru’s population still speaks Quechua, the language might be appropriate as a required part of school curriculum throughout Peru. There are arguments for and against this; the idea has been proposed to Congress before but has never made it into law.
However, if English is mandatory in education nation-wide, why not a language that is the country’s most profound connection with their cultural roots?
Regardless, the Regional Government of Cusco has taken matters into their own hands to destigmatize and preserve America’s largest indigenous language.
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