FELDMAN Patricio Julian
capítulos de libros
Public Policies for Multilingual EducationUsing ICT in Latin America
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace
Interregional Library Cooperation Centre
Lugar: Moscu; Año: 2015; p. 361 - 384
Many Latin American nations have committed themselves to becomingKnowledge Societies in the near future. They have approved development plansfor horizons extended to 10, 15 or 25 years, with a view to substantially changetheir economies and their societies. The immediate implication is that most oftheir citizens will not just be connected to the Internet; they will have to be qualified users and producers of ICT products and services, including contents,software, hardware, and new organizational patterns. The old ?digital divide?related to devices and connectivity has been replaced with the new ?knowledgedivide?, which is about people knowing how to use digital tools productively.In order to become real citizens of a knowledge society, the knowledge dividemust be overcome. In Latin American countries, the language barrier betweenofficial languages, such as Spanish and Portuguese, and indigenous languagesis an issue that still keeps many of these peoples from becoming productivecyber-citizens and taking advantage of universal access to information.According to UNESCO, languages are powerful instruments for preserving anddeveloping culture. Information and communication technologies (ICT) canhelp not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education butalso to increase awareness and transmission of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world, and to motivate solidarity between diverse peoples.However, at present indigenous Latin American languages are not representedin the digital world. Language presence in cyberspace is insufficient in viewof the increased importance of the role of cyberspace for access by indigenouspeoples to education and information, the preservation and strengthening oftheir own languages and cultures, and the construction of inclusive knowledgesocieties.This paper, based on meta research, focuses on Public Policies for MultilingualEducation using ICT in Latin America. As we started our research, we had todecide the universe in which we would work. We chose to work on indigenouslanguages since this is widely considered as a vacancy area.The paper starts with a panorama about multilingualism in Latin Americancountries. It analyzes national public policies regarding multilingualism,with the goal of introducing multilingualism to public education. The workalso describes the interfaces between multilingual education and the neweducational programmes using ICT.Conclusions derived from the research are, among others, that Latin Americanmultilingual education in cyberspace is acquiring an increasing importancedue to the programmes of digital education and literacy, such as the plans ofOne Laptop Per Child. Increasingly these plans are including contents aboutindigenous languages and cultures. However, this tendency is recent. Impacton the educational community have not yet been studied in depth.The inclusion of multilingual and multicultural contents in education, eitherat school or in cyberspace, has often been interpreted as proving a platform fororal traditional stories and local folkloric manifestations. However, bilingualintercultural education means much more than revaluation and dissemination 363of folkloric displays. What is necessary for intercultural education in LA is tostrengthen the cultural identity of indigenous peoples, not enhance confinementwithin their own traditions or facilitate the spread of their folklore, but togenerate symmetric conditions of reciprocal interactions and exchange withthe dominant culture.Finally, the paper suggests measures to improve public policies and strategiesregarding multilingual education in cyberspace for Latin American countries.