What does a bilingual school for minority languages like Nasa Yuwe or Basque mean?

Itziar Idiazabal – Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU), España

Itziar Idiazabal, 2017: "¿Qué significa la escuela bilingüe para lenguas minorizadas como el nasa yuwe o el euskera?", Onomázein – N.º especial | Las lenguas amerindias en Iberoamérica: retos para el siglo XXI, 137-152.
DOI: 10.7764/onomazein.amerindias.08

Most of the young speakers of Amerindian minoritized languages are in fact bilingual due to the overwhelming presence of dominant languages. Bilingual/multilingual schools are nevertheless necessary to guarantee literacy to the speakers in their two languages and to ensurea future to the minoritized languages. But not all the bilingual schools achieve that goal. We (Basque) are well aware from our own experience how important is the school to achieve this aim, but we also know the difficulties it entails. In the North of Cauca (Colombia), in the region of Toribío, two immersion schools in Nasa Yuwe language have been created in 2013 following the local demand and the impulse of ACIN indigenous association of the Nasa region. Those Wasakkwêwe’sx schools are a real pedagogical challenge because the traditional bilingual schools (the PEIB: programas de educación intercutural bilingüe) seem even unable to preserve the knowledge transmitted by the families, and, as a result, the native language progressively vanishes.
In this paper we analyze the development of this school project thanks to the Basque-Nasa exchange program that has already an accumulated experience of three years. In order to achieve success of a bilingual school with a minoritized language, we shall emphasize the features of popular and local institutions concerned in the organization and support of the experience and also the necessary interdisciplinarity of the task. To sum up, the bilingual school can be conceived as a global initiative of development and an alternative to ensure the survival of languages like Nasa Yuwe.