In brief

Congress of Yucatán approves introduction of mandatory Maya lessons at school

More than 25% of the population of the eastern Mexican state speaks the language

The Congress of Yucatán.
The Congress of Yucatán. Author: Congresos de México @ Twitter
The Congress of Yucatán has unanimously approved to introduce the mandatory learning of the Maya language in the schools of that eastern federal state of Mexico. The introduction will be gradual, among other reasons because there are not enough teachers trained to teach the language.

According to data from the Ministry of Education of Yucatán, in the 2018-2019 academic year 34,000 pre-school and primary school students received Maya language instruction, out of a total of just over 300,000 pupils.

Yucatec Maya is spoken by 780,000 people in the Yucatán peninsula. Of these, 530,000 live in the state of Yucatán, where they form a little more than 25% of the population). The remaining Yucatec Maya speakers live in the other two states of the peninsula —Quintana Roo and Campeche.

Maya speakers tend to be concentrated in rural areas, with more elderly than young speakers. Congress members have said that the mandatory learning of the language at school seeks to address those two issues, helping children acquire Maya and securing a place for the language in cities such as Yucatán state capital Mérida.