At the initiative of DVV International, state and civil society partners of the Institute from Mexico and Guatemala met at the end of September in the Mexican state of Chiapas to coordinate future joint work in the two countries. One focus was on bilingual education for indigenous groups.
In collaboration with the Institute for Adult Education in Chiapas, Mexico (ICHEJA), DVV International has given instruction to more than 200 trainers over the past two years, enabling them to conduct bilingual literacy courses in Spanish as well as indigenous languages. The trainers not only learned about general methods for alphabetisation, but were also sensitised to work with indigenous groups. The most important indigenous groups in the state of Chiapas are the Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Ch'ol, Tojolab'al and Zoque. Many indigenous people do not speak Spanish and therefore need bilingual services.
Bilingual education was one of the topics of the meeting in San Cristobal de las Casas from 18 to 22 September. Representatives of the Guatemalan Ministry of Education, ICHEJA and DVV International exchanged experiences on bilingual education. Since indigenous groups, belonging to the Maya people, also live in northern Guatemala, training programmes and course concepts for indigenous groups will also be developed and offered there in the future. Partners from civil society are to be involved as well. DVV International will play a coordinating role in the process. In addition to its contacts to government institutions, the institute also has good relationships with a number of civil society organisations in the region who work with the indigenous and rural population.
The Guatemalan visitors were also able to get to know the work of DVV International in southern Mexico and the structures and programmes of the Mexican Institute for Adult Education (ICHEJA). The Guatemalan Ministry of Education, ICHEJA and DVV International are planning a joint agreement for cross-border cooperation over the next three years. The cooperation is based not only on bilingual education but also on the topic of (cross-border) migration, as well as on general questions concerning adult education and its role in the development of the region.