Specialists propose that the Maya language should be taught in all schools across the Yucatán

Merida school children fight the heat with ice cream and 'paletas'. (PHOTO: yucatan.com.mx)

In Yucatán, it was approved in 2019 to make the Maya language mandatory in elementary schools, but this remained only on paper.

Since 2019, the teaching of the Maya language is mandatory statewide at the basic educational level, so the specialist in the subject, Fidencio Briceño Chel, calls on the education authorities to apply this mandatory teaching in all schools in Yucatan.

The State Government approved this new reform to the local constitution to establish the obligatory teaching of Maya at the elementary level, this was approved unanimously among the legislators, who at the time assured that the objective is to rescue and preserve the language in the state.

The also director of the State Center for Training, Research and Humanistic Dissemination of Yucatan (Centro Estatal de Capacitación, Investigación y Difusión Humanística de Yucatán), stated that according to data from the National Institute of Statistic and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía INEGI), 30% of Yucatán’s population is indigenous; one of the largest in the country.

“There is a law that is not being applied, the Maya language has been recognized this year as cultural and material heritage, so it would force its use and promotion, which is not being done, as I mentioned, it is legislated, but it needs to be applied, it needs to be taught in schools,” Briceño Chel said.

The Mayan language is dying

The Institute informed that Yucatán has the largest population of speakers of an indigenous language, with close to 570,000 speakers of Maya. The use and the number of Maya speakers have fallen dramatically during the last decades, which is why it is necessary to promote public policies for the rescue of this important native language.

The investigator also noted that the Maya language is one of the best-known nationwide and that there is a need to incorporate Maya speakers, seeking to create this intercommunication of teaching within and outside the communities, but it is a job for our society as a whole.

It should be mentioned that the changes in the State Constitution, which were approved by the Congreso Local, seek to generate the conditions to rescue, promote and preserve the native language in the Mexican Southeast, and in the educational system at the basic level.

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