Shaping curriculum from the margins: reconciling universalism and cultural pluralism in Peru
Gonzalez Falcón, Inmaculada (ed.). Understanding cultural diversity in education. Perceptions, opportunities and challenges, pp. 177- 212 | New York: Nova Sciences Publisher
In a world experiencing rapid change where cultural, political, economic, and social upheaval challenge traditional ways of life, educations has a major role to play in promoting social uderstanding, peaceful interaction, and positive coexistence at a global sacale. A major challenge when discussing the issues of cultural diversity and a global learning in Peru appears to be dealing with some of the inherent tensions that arise in any effort to transform old colonial hierarchies into democratic relations among cultures and when trying to reconcile competing world views. According to Diana Alvarez-Calderon (2014), former Peruvian Minister of Culture, “in the Peruvian experience, the coexistence amongst diverse people and ethnic-cultural groups has been—and continues to be—marked by lopsided relationships; this is a centuries-long history of predjudice and discrimination toward indigenous ethnic minorities and Afro-descendant people” (p.17). In our view, one significant tensión arises from the nature of global learning itself, because, in fact, it needs to accommodate both universalism and cultural pluralism. To what extent is Peruvian public policy facilitating and scaffolding such a process? To what extent is it effectively shaping the soul of culturally diverse Peruvian global learners? The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, in collaboration with the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, is conducting a study of the national network of Colegios de Alto Rendimiento (Schools for High Achievement). This study seeks to understand how cultural diversity curriculum is shaping public policy about global learning. First, schooling is an identity-shaping process and should nurture an empowering sense of agency and interdependence in service of a pluralistic national society and global citizenship. Second, diverse stundents develo pan increased awareness about the need to take informed and responsible action to address ethical, social, and environmental challenges. Third, global learners are able to integrate and apply knowledge and skills gained through all curricular and co-curricular experiences to address complex, contemporary global issues from their diverse local perspectives. Lastly, global learners are able to critically connect their own values to local and global contexts to both recognize and anticípate potentially conflicting positions during social and civic engagement. We highlight the accomplishments and assess the challenges that the road ahead has in store for this fully government-funded experience.