PROJECT BY YACHAY TECH GRADUATES SEEKS TO BRING SCIENCE TO THE INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS OF ECUADOR
Minority languages face transformation processes and fight several social and linguistic limitations. In the face of this problem, the research group “Science for Kichwa”, comprised of Yachay Tech graduates, linguists from Ohio State University, sociologists from the Complutense University of Madrid, and the Tikrachushun Translation group of the Kichwa Institute of Science, Technology and Humanities (KISTH), seeks to break down barriers to education and research development in Kichwa through the adaptation of technical-scientific terms of natural science (Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Biology, Geology, etc.).
Kichwa, an Ecuadorian native language that is spoken by more than half a million people with different variations throughout the country, lacks scientific tools to respond to educational needs, which, in turn, causes the gradual loss of its ancestral knowledge.
With this in mind, the project is focused on the development of science and scientific education in Kichwa, starting with the adaptation of the periodic table and its diffusion process.
The periodic table is widely recognized as the constituent source of chemistry and the pillars and structural axes of science. It consists of a unique diagram that captures the essence of chemistry in a simple, direct and elegant way. For both experts and beginners, the periodic table is of great help as it keeps the basic information for any scientific work in an orderly way.
It is also a great learning tool for students and scientists that helps them analyze the characteristics of all the elements that exist in the universe, each with unique, strange and extraordinary properties.
José Esteban Andino, Manuel Alejandro Andino, Paola Martínez, Francis Hidalgo, Sofía Peñafiel, Michelle Chicaiza (graduates) and Sisa Chalán (student) from Yachay Tech, mentioned that the pilot dissemination plan of the project consists of infographics on the elements of the table periodic. It includes information about the history, uses, where it is found, physical characteristics and curious facts about each element, each one in Kichwa, Spanish and English. This information is posted on the social networks of “Science For Kichwa”, “Kuna Ecuador”, “Red Ecuatoriana de Mujeres Científicas” and “Youth Action Hub Ecuador”.
Initially, the main beneficiaries of the project are students from elementary, middle and high schools from Kichwa communities. Then, the plan is to extend it to Kichwa-speakers of all ages to bring science closer to the entire community through simple experiments in Kichwa.
This research work was presented as a scientific article in the “Journal of Chemical Education” (a division of the American Chemical Society), an American scientific journal.
According to José Esteban Andino, “The scientific article has been published (https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.1c00383) and has received excellent reviews by scientists around the world. This type of research seeks to recognize ancestral languages as a source of wisdom which has the potential to become a language of science due to the amount of knowledge about ancestral remedies of medicinal plants”, indicated.
“Any person or organization that is interested is welcome to be part of the project and research group. We are an organization that includes scientists, linguists, students and volunteers, whose common goal is to promote quality science education while rescuing the Kichwa language. Currently, we have the support of organizations such as KISTH, the Tikrachishun group and Youth Hub Ecuador”, Andino pointed out.
This way, Yachay Tech continues to contribute to the development of science and technology in the country.