Yapatera’s Education Project (Proyecto Educativo de I.E. José Pintado Berrú en Yapatera, Peru)

Photos by Birtha Knight

The general principles on education in Peru are based on ethics, ethnicity, inclusion, democracy and cross-culturalism.  I had several meetings with educators who presented their educational pedagogy and gave me a guided tour of their institutions.  They also welcomed me with cultural dances and foods only found in Peru so that I can get the full Peruvian experience.  Among the schools I visited, I found the I.E. José Pintado Berrú de Yapatera in the Providence of Piura exemplary in its philosophy, leadership and sense of community.  This secondary school is located in the northern Afro-Peruvian community of Yapatera.  As a community, Yapatera takes great pride in their heritage, culture and Afrocentricity.   This community was originally occupied by enslaved Africans during the Spanish colonialism era beginning in the 16th century.

Photos by Birtha Knight
As an educational institution, I.E. José Pintado Berrú embodies a strong and proud sense of community.  I sat in on a presentation, titled “Proyecto Educativo” (Education Project) where teachers shared their philosophy on education.  They believe that with a strong centered curriculum, each student can develop a strong sense of identity, have a clear understanding of their historical past, identify their individual needs, and have a clear definition of a common future.  I photographed the “Proyecto Educativo” model for further analysis and to recreate the model in English.

An example of how students felt about identity was found in their videography as Nuestra Indentidad (our identity).  Students strongly embrace their African heritage through music and art.  Their dance group is called “grupo de danzas sangre y fuera negra” which means the black blood and strong dance group.  Performances by grupo de danzas sangre y fuera negra included dancing in traditional African or Peruvian clothes that represented their heritage.  They also do dance performance of slaveowner/slave reenactments.  This performance was the most emotional of them all because there were students who were shirtless with fake blood on their backs to symbolize the horrific slave experience.  I had the opportunity to see these students performed a traditional Afro-Peruvian dance to a very popular Afro-Peruvian song, titled "Zamba Malató" - Landó (to Wash) by Susana Baca

In May 2011, the Global Rights Partners for Justice published an IA Report on the State of the Afro-Peruvian People’s Human Rights, titled “Beyond the Historical Apology.” In their section on the state of education for the Afro-Peruvian people, they noted that “There is an urgent need to modify the school curriculum so as to include the fact that the Afro-Peruvian people are a part of the Peruvian nation – their history and participation must be studied by all Peruvians – and in order to do this it will be necessary to train the teachers so that they will correctly teach about the history, participation, and contributions of the Afro-Peruvian people in Peru” (p. 38). They also expressed that the educational curriculum being taught in Peru should represent all ethnic groups equally.

For more information on Afro-Peruvian (Afroperuano) human rights, visit Global Rights Peru:

Peru is geographically located on the western side of South America’s Pacific Coast whose immediate neighbors are Chile and Ecuador.  It was surprising to know that Afro-Peruvians only make up about 5% of the population which is about 3 million in total.  This is an approximate figure because Peru has not been a census report taken by the government since the 1940’s and the word “race” was not included in the report.  The coastal areas where Afro-Peruvians are mostly located include Yapatera, Zana, El Carmen, and Morropon.  They have had a presence there since their African ancestors began arriving to the coastal regions of Peru in 1534 from Senegal, Guinea, Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Angola and Mozambique during the Spanish rule to work on plantations. 

   Original Education Project Outlined in Spanish                                              Education Project Outlined in English

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