A mid-term evaluation of The intercultural education project (PEI) among the Yanomami
Background The Yanomami population consisting of 22.000 individuals are a hunter-gatherer and swidden horticultural society of the tropical forests occupying a territory of approximately 192,000 km2, spanning both sides of the Brazil/Venezuela frontier.The Yanomami in Brazil (50%) first experienced direct contact with "white" people in the first decades of the last century.Between the 1940s and the mid-1960s, the opening of some Indian Protection Service posts and, especially, of various evangelical and Catholic missions, established the first points of permanent contact in their territory. These posts constituted a network of foci for sedentarization, being regular sources of supply of manufactured goods and also of lethal epidemics. In the 1970s and 1980s the national development projects of the Brazilian State began to submit the Yanomami to increasingly intense forms of contact with the expanding regional economic frontier: roads, colonization projects, ranches, sawmills, construction works and the first informal mineral prospecting sites (garimpos). These contacts provoked an epidemiological shock on a massive scale, causing heavy demographic losses, general sanitary degradation and serious social destructuring. Although the intensity of this gold-rush diminished greatly at the beginning of the 1990s, nuclei of prospecting still exist in the Yanomami area, and continue to act as sources of violence and severe sanitary and social problems. In order to defend their land and their rights and fight for self-management, the Yanomami felt a need to understand the language and the rules of the Brazilian society. In 1995 they requested their allay the Pro-Yanomami Commission (CCPY) to start up a school in their leader`s village. The introduction of schooling is seen as a vehicle to preserve the culture and their traditional way of life provided that it values the Yanomami culture. Purpose/objective The evaluation had a dual purpose: 1) To give feedback and qualified assistance to the CCPY regarding the pedagogical components of the program, particularly the curriculum that they are about to prepare.2) To look at the project's results so far from an "outsider's" perspective according to the general objective of the evaluation which says: "To evaluate the 5 years of the programme with a view to constructing a critical analysis that can highlight positive and negative aspects and from them make suggestions that can raise it to maximum capacity. The evaluation should also measure the degree to which these annual objectives and results have been achieved. Methodology - document analysis: review of field reports and annual reports, other relevant documents- observation in the classrooms and in the communities- review of the didactic material produced and in use- interviews/conversations with the coordinators and consultants from the CCPY team, students, members of the community, resource persons and partners Key findings Over the years the project has received financial support from Norway, it has been developed in accordance with the overall objective - of working out an education policy in close co-operation with the Yanomami. The project has definitely proved to be relevant to the Yanomami. However, it remains to be seen whether the priority of learning to speak Portuguese (stated by CCPY in their annual report 2000) as a means to be heard in the larger society will be reached. Taking into account the Yanomami teachers' level today, it is not realistic to reach this objective within the next 3 years. The political sustainability depends, among others, on whether the Yanomami are able to take responsibility for the continuation of the project. It is related to how the role and tasks of the non-indigenous teachers are defined and the gradual shift from being in direct contact with the students to becoming advisers and teacher trainers to the Yanomami teachers. The education authorities have not yet approved the programme and finalising the curriculum is a first step in this direction. This refers to the specific objective: to ensure that the Brazilian authorities recognise and finance the programme. Although the costs involved may be considered high taking the low number of beneficiaries into consideration this has to be reflected in a human rights perspective. It is not possible to apply a rigid cost-benefit analysis. Catering for the needs of the few is always expensive but within the global action of Education for all, indigenous people have the right to an education in their own language and on their own conditions. Recommendations - The successes and failures of the program need to be summed up in view of the general and specific objectives and ways to reach the ultimate objectives must be spelled out step by step. The part that needs most attention is how to enable the Yanomami to take over the project and how to secure that a group of well-trained and educated Yanomami can take the role as spokespersons for their people in the larger society and defend their territory.- The actual and future role of the CCPY teachers needs to be discussed emphasising their role as consultants to the Yanomami. In this respect it is recommended to strengthen the language courses in the Y. language to the non-indigenous teachers- It follows that the role of the Y. teachers also should be considered, evaluating their role as teachers and advisers in the communities. New adviser models might be tried out as the project is being extended to other communities including training the more advanced and experienced Y. teachers to become advisers to other colleagues- Encourage and train the Y. teachers to take more responsibility for the follow up and supervision of their colleagues in remote and small villages. Encourage co-operation and support between neighbouring schools- The teacher training needs to be strengthened and developed with respect to the academic and pedagogical contents, the follow up and support the Y. teachers may give each other. Portuguese should have a high priority and the teaching methods in this subject need to be reconsidered. Literacy training is the best-developed subject, while mathematics must be strengthened as well as the other subjects announced. The teaching methods in literacy training should be discussed and the criteria for defining literacy need to be reconsidered.- The planned curriculum needs to be finalised with the assistance of an education advisor and experts in the various subjects.- The production of didactic material should be continued and strengthened considering the sustainability. The same methods that have been used in the development of literacy and mathematics might be extended to the other subjects that are in the process of being defined- It is time to sum up the experiences so far before extending the number of schools. A new step in the process of producing didactic material might be to consider compiling a textbook for the students and a manual for the teachers, which secure a certain uniformity of the teaching. This may be done in co-operation with Secoya and Diocese.