3. Laws, Policies and Programmes
6. Teachers and Educational Staff
Inclusive education was made official in Peru with the enactment of Act 30797 of 2018. This Act incorporates article 19A relating to inclusive education into the General Education Act (2003).
Article 19A stipulates that "education is inclusive in all its stages, forms, methods, levels and cycles. Educational institutions shall adopt measures to ensure conditions of accessibility, availability, acceptability and adaptability in the provision of educational services, and develop personalized education plans for students with special educational needs. The State guarantees the creation and implementation of educational support services for inclusive education, implementing awareness-raising, training and advice on diversity for the educational community, without prejudice to specialized staff for the provision of inclusive education support. Inclusive education shall not generate additional costs for learners with special educational needs."
Special educational needs
According to the Guide for the intervention of support and advisory services for special educational needs prepared by the Ministry of Education, a student has SEN when they have greater difficulties than the rest of their classmates in accessing the learning that corresponds to their age, according to the National Curricular Design, and therefore requires access adaptations or curriculum adaptations to compensate for these difficulties. Students present SEN "because they have specific learning difficulties, because of their high intellectual abilities, because they have entered the education system late, because of personal, family or school history conditions or because of disability".
Peru seeks to ensure that all students can access the education system irrespective of their characteristics, needs and the context in which they are developing. In the 1990s, the Project for the Integration of Children with SEN into mainstream schools was developed with the support of UNESCO, incorporating students with disabilities into mainstream schools for the first time.
The General Education Act (2003) stipulated that special basic education should have an inclusive approach and should cater for people with SEN in order to achieve their integration into community life and their participation in society. Special Basic Education, aimed at people with a type of disability that hinders their mainstream learning and at children and adolescents who are gifted or have specific talents, was provided with a view to ensuring the inclusion of these people in mainstream classrooms without prejudice to the complementary and personalized support they require. Students with disabilities are provided support through the Support and Advisory Services for Special Educational Needs Education (SAANEE). The professionals who make up the SAANEE team provide support and advice to teachers in mainstream basic, alternative basic and technical and production educational institutions who teach students with mild and moderate disabilities in their classrooms, and to Special Basic Education Centres (CEBE) that provide educational support to students with severe or multiple disabilities. They also coordinate the inclusion process with the Early Intervention Programmes (PRITE).
The creation of a Pilot Plan for the Gradual Inclusion of Children with Disabilities (2005) made it possible to build a conceptual framework to promote inclusive educational processes in basic education.
According to a report published in 2012 by the Directorate-General of Special Basic Education (DIGEBE), in recent years, concepts, policies, cultures and educational practices have been changing so as to promote the transformation of the school system to serve all students, irrespective of their characteristics, needs and the context in which they are developing. This involves a transition from proposals based on individualized therapies with a clinical rehabilitative approach to the implementation of a social model based on a rights-based approach as established in Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
The Special Basic Education method now represents the support provided for the development of inclusive education in the country. It is responsible for advisory and support actions to guide organizational, methodological, curricular and tutoring options, as well as accompanying educational stakeholders to promote skills development and foster the learning of all students, respecting their differences.
According to the DIGEBE, the inclusive school "devises individualized support in relation to identified educational needs and their relationship to the demands of the unique and flexible curriculum, which is adapted to the characteristics and needs of the student, the intervention being within the classroom".
There are special education institutions all over the country.
The principles of the General Education Act (2003) include equity, inclusion, quality and interculturality. The principle of inclusion in education is promoted to "incorporate people with disabilities, and excluded, marginalized and vulnerable social groups, especially in rural areas, without distinction as to ethnicity, religion, gender or any other cause of discrimination, thus contributing to the elimination of poverty, exclusion and inequalities".
In 2003, a supreme decree declared the "Decade of Inclusive Education 2003-2012" by which the education sector committed to developing an inclusive education model and generating qualitative changes fundamentally for improved quality and equity of educational services, with an emphasis on social groups in conditions of exclusion and poverty, and irrespective of their personal, social, ethnic or cultural conditions, especially those with educational needs associated with disability.
In 2008, a Vice-Ministerial Decree created a roundtable for dialogue and joint action for inclusive education the objective of which was to contribute to the implementation and development of inclusive education policies.
Act 30797 of 2018 incorporated inclusive education into the General Education Act.
The National Education Project to 2021 seeks to prevent school drop outs among the most vulnerable social groups and to overcome gender and disability discrimination in the education system.
The General Act on People with Disabilities (1999) stipulates that the education of people with disabilities is aimed at their social, economic and cultural integration and inclusion. Act 28164 of 2004 amended some articles of the General Act on People with Disabilities. It stipulates that public and private universities, within the context of their autonomy, will implement special admission programmes for people with disabilities and will reserve 5 per cent of vacancies for such people in the admissions process.
The General Education Act (2003) decrees that Special Basic Education has an inclusive approach and will serve people with SEN and children and adolescents who are gifted or have specific talents in order to achieve their integration into community life and their participation in society. Transition from one grade to another will be based on the competencies they have achieved and their chronological age, respecting the principle of educational and social integration.
The DIGEBE regularly publishes resources for the support of children with disabilities and SEN. In 2017, for example, the Guidelines for the psychomotor development of children with SEN were published. In 2010, the Guide for supporting students with severe and/or multiple disabilities was published, which proposes an educational model with an inclusive approach. According to the report Special Basic Education and Inclusive Education Assessment and Outlook, inclusive education means reducing barriers to learning and participation and developing mainstream schools capable of meeting the needs of all learners.
The Guide for the intervention of support and advisory services for special educational needs developed by the Ministry of Education includes a series of recommendations for teachers, educational communities and families with regard to building a school for all within the framework of inclusive education. It includes strategies for removing barriers to learning and the participation of students with SEN and guidance for the inclusion process.
The National Education Project (PEN) to 2021 promoted the educational inclusion of children with disabilities through support programmes under the responsibility of specialized professionals from the Educational Support and Assistance Programmes. The National Education Project proposes the expansion of Early Intervention Programmes, which seek to detect problems associated with disability in early childhood and to educate families about their treatment. At the basic level, the inclusive education programme seeks to respond to the diversity and needs of each person through inclusive and intercultural teaching that facilitates curriculum adaptations, and ensures the relevance of educational materials and technological resources and teacher training.
The Equal Opportunities for Women and Men Act (2007) sought to guarantee access to public education and retention in all stages of the education system, under conditions of equality between women and men, especially in rural areas, promoting respect for and appreciation of cultural identities.
The National Gender Equality Plan 2012-2017 sought to reduce gender gaps between men and women in education. The strategic objectives included:
A greater number of children aged 3 to 5 years attending inclusive early education services where the National Programme of Direct Support to the Poorest - JUNTOS - is implemented.
An increase in the percentage of children in primary education who speak a native mother tongue and are served by Intercultural Bilingual Education programmes.
Training of Regional Technical Teams to implement the Educational Guidelines and Teaching Approaches for Comprehensive Sex Education in the regions.
The National Education Project to 2021 promotes the creation of a permanent programme for the timely enrolment and retention of girls and adolescents, as well as those with disabilities, in areas of greatest poverty and in the different levels of mainstream basic education, alternative basic education and special schools. National campaigns to raise awareness of their right to education are also promoted. It also proposes the creation of an intercultural sex education programme for students of both genders who complete primary and secondary school, technically assisted by the Educational Support and Assistance Programmes for schools.
Ethnic and Linguistic Groups and Indigenous Population
The Political Constitution of Peru (1993) protects and promotes intercultural and bilingual education. There has been a specialization in intercultural and bilingual education at the National University of the Peruvian Amazon since 1985. Since the Intercultural Bilingual Education Act (2002), the State has been promoting intercultural bilingual education in the regions inhabited by bilingual people. Education for indigenous peoples must be equal in quality, efficiency, accessibility and all other aspects provided for the general population. The Act states that indigenous peoples have the right to create and control their own educational institutions.
The General Education Act (2003) guarantees, recognizes and promotes the education of indigenous peoples under equal conditions with the rest of the national community. Intercultural bilingual education will be offered throughout the education system. Learning of the student’s mother tongue and of Spanish as a second language will be guaranteed, as well as the subsequent learning of foreign languages. Moreover, indigenous peoples’ participation in the formulation and implementation of educational programmes should be ensured.
Act 29735 of 2011 regulates the use, preservation, development, recovery, promotion and dissemination of the native languages of Peru. Article 16 stipulates that "the State must guarantee and promote the teaching of indigenous languages in primary, secondary and university education, being compulsory in the areas where they are predominant, through the design and implementation of plans, programmes and actions for the promotion and recovery of indigenous languages, oral tradition and interculturalism". The State shall implement effective measures to prevent discrimination against people on the basis of their use of indigenous languages.
Supreme Decree 006-2016 approved the sectoral policy on intercultural education and intercultural bilingual education, which is mandatory for all education sector bodies. The necessary mechanisms are established for the sectoral policy’s monitoring and evaluation.
The National Intercultural Bilingual Education Plan to 2021 (PNEIB) is the management tool that guides implementation of intercultural bilingual education public policy in the different educational bodies. According to the PNEIB, 18.3 per cent of students at the early education level receive the intercultural bilingual education service, and 23.6 per cent at the primary level, while there is still no data on the scope of intercultural bilingual education at the secondary level. It is hoped that children and adolescents will have access to inclusive and quality intercultural bilingual education, that greater retention and completion will be guaranteed at all levels of education, that the implementation of initial and in-service intercultural bilingual education teacher training programmes will be ensured, and that decentralized management will be promoted with a geographical and inclusive approach.
A large number of indigenous young people have been able to enter university thanks to affirmative action plans consisting of quota systems that reserve a certain number of vacancies for indigenous youth from the Amazon. In most cases, the quota system is developed by the universities and does not correspond to a State policy. The National Intercultural University of the Amazon (UNIA) was the first intercultural university in Peru. Three intercultural universities are in the process of being created since 2010 and are still awaiting official licensing from the Peruvian state.
The Act on the Promotion of Education for Rural Girls and Adolescents (2001) sought to promote conditions of equity in education among children and adolescents in rural areas. Through the National Mobilization Programme for Literacy (PRONAMA), the national illiteracy rate was reduced to 6 per cent in 2015 according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Information (INEI). However, according to the National Gender Equality Plan 2012-2017, women living in rural areas continue to be the largest illiterate population group in the country, with an average illiteracy rate of 14.4 per cent. In Huancavelica, Apurímac, Ayacucho, Puno and Cusco, illiteracy affects up to a quarter of the female population aged 15 and over.
People living in poverty
The National Education Project to 2021 sought to ensure the essential conditions for learning in education centres that serve the poorest people, with the provision of basic supplies and services, as well the linking of equal educational policies with productive development and anti-poverty programmes.
One of the main programmes for the promotion of education for the benefit of the poorest is the National Programme of Direct Support to the Poorest - JUNTOS.
The Political Constitution of Peru (1993) establishes that the education system is decentralized. The General Education Act (2003) establishes that the Ministry of Education, the Regional Education Directorate and the local Education Management Units must coordinate their actions with the municipalities, which support the provision of the educational institutions’ services and contribute to educational development within their jurisdiction.
The Directorate-General of Special Basic Education (DIGEBE) is the body responsible for the education of people with disabilities, talents and giftedness. It designs Special Basic Education policies and formulates plans, policies and projects with an inclusive and cross-cutting approach in the educational system. It reports to the General-Directorate of Specialized Educational Services.
The National Council for the Integration of People with Disabilities (CONADIS) works to ensure recognition and protection of the rights of people with disabilities. It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations.
The Directorate-General of Alternative Basic Education, Intercultural Bilingual Education and Educational Services in Rural Areas is in charge of implementing intercultural bilingual education policies at the national level. The National Commission for Bilingual Education is the forum for participation and consultation between the Ministry of Education and organizations of Andean and Amazonian indigenous peoples and Afro-Peruvian organizations for the implementation of intercultural bilingual education policies.
Infrastructure and Services
The National Education Project to 2021 seeks to ensure good infrastructure, services and adequate sanitary conditions in all education centres that serve the poorest. It also seeks to refurbish school infrastructure to make it easily accessible and available for students with disabilities.
Article 22 of the General Act for People with Disabilities (1999) stipulates that "Mainstream Education Centres and Special Education Centres will consider, within their Centre’s Curricular Project, the necessary curriculum adaptations that will allow for a relevant educational response to the diversity of students, including children and young people with special educational needs".
The Guide for the intervention of support and advisory services for special educational needs explains the stages in the process of curricular diversification and adaptation. The curriculum must be flexible in order to respond to the learning needs of students with disabilities who are included in educational institutions.
The National Education Project to 2021 sought to establish a shared, intercultural, inclusive and integrating national curriculum framework that would make it possible to have regional curricula that guarantee national learning and that complement the curriculum with knowledge that is relevant and pertinent to their environment.
The National Intercultural Bilingual Education Plan to 2021 promoted the development of a relevant curriculum from an intercultural bilingual approach. Supreme Decree 006-2016 promoted the construction of a national curriculum framework that encourages an intercultural perspective to teaching at all educational levels in order to nurture inclusive and intercultural citizens that know, respect and value socio-cultural, environmental and gender differences.
The basic education national curriculum includes a gender equality approach established in line with the National Plan for Gender Equality 2012-2017.
ICT and learning materials
The National Education Project to 2021 seeks to promote the effective, creative and culturally-relevant use of new information and communication technologies at all levels of education.
Between 2013 and 2015, workbooks were produced in 12 native languages and five variants of Quechua for three areas and various early and primary education grades. Didactic tools have also been developed for the use of the native language and Spanish in learning.
The Guide for the intervention of support and advisory services for special educational needs seeks to train inclusive teachers at all levels and in all methods of the education system so that they can provide adequate support to SEN associated with disability, talent and giftedness. They make curriculum adaptations according to the support required by each student.
The National Education Project to 2021 envisages a support programme for students with disabilities in mainstream centres, under the responsibility of specialized professionals from the Educational Support and Assistance Programmes, including incentives for families and children with disabilities to ensure their school attendance.
With respect to gender, starting in 2017, a plan was created through the National Directorate of Tutoring and Educational Guidance to strengthen comprehensive sex education in schools. To this end, it was announced that 300 specialists would be hired to strengthen teacher training following the publication of a report by Cayetano Heredia University and the Guttmacher Institute that revealed that only 8 per cent of teachers were trained to teach comprehensive sex education.
Intercultural Bilingual Education
The General Education Act decrees that teachers must be proficient in the native language of the area in which they work.
According to the Intercultural Bilingual Education Act (2002) the Ministry of Education must promote the incorporation of indigenous teachers into educational institutions. Furthermore, bilingual education teachers must be proficient in the native language of the area in which they work and in Spanish.
The Training Programme for Bilingual Teachers of the Peruvian Amazon (FORMABIAP) is the country’s oldest teacher training programme. It has developed diversified teacher training curricula in intercultural bilingual education for early and primary education levels. Together with the Bilingual Higher Institute of Yarinacocha they have trained most of the active bilingual teachers in the country.
The National Intercultural Bilingual Education Plan to 2021 recognizes that the initial and in-service training of intercultural bilingual education teachers continues to be the most critical aspect for implementing the intercultural bilingual education policy. There are currently 38,000 bilingual teachers (with different levels of intercultural bilingual education training) but at least 17,000 further teachers are needed to meet the demand. In some cases, the fundamental right to intercultural bilingual education is violated due to a lack of teacher education and training. For example, the National Intercultural University of the Amazon does not have indigenous teaching staff or staff trained in intercultural approaches.
Peru monitors its education system on a regular basis through institutional reports.