Digital gap Interview

Diversity as a digital opportunity


Pukllasunchis Association is an institution for kindergarten, primary and secondary education in Cusco, Peru, that has an intercultural, inclusive and environmental approach. Also, the school’s learning experience “Radio with Andean Girls and Boys” was one of the selected projects  to be presented in the Challenge for Media Education at MWC Barcelona 2023. 

The digital platform Puklla Virtual was designed to manage learning in a simple, accessible and free way, during the preventive and mandatory social isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Its goal was to provide an inclusive and high quality educational proposal of distance-learning that could meet the demands of diversity, not only in students, but also in families and teachers, in a context with a deep digital divide: limited access to and possession of technology, poor connectivity, lack of computers and smartphones, etc. This was evidence of unequal development and lack of skills and digital competences. To deal with digital inclusion, an ICT Institutional Committee was created to transversally reflect, coordinate and propose the training, use and implementation of technologies in a pedagogical way, and respecting cultural diversity. This committee continues rethinking the current challenges of digital inclusion in Pukllasunchis.

Interview to Serguei Alvarez

What are your current needs regarding training?
Serguei Alvarez Cartagena
Our school aims at meeting the demands of diversity and is committed to this goal. We think it is important to reflect pedagogically on how to propose valid and significant learning situations that make use of new technologies from an inclusive perspective meeting the demands of diversity. However, we have a high teaching staff turnover, which results in repetitive training cycles and makes it difficult to implement new digital competences evenly.
For example, we might implement methodologies such as Project-based Learning (PBL) or projects like Future Classroom Lab, which allow for the development of different activities simultaneously in a modular and flexible space.
What are the challenges of pedagogical and technological innovation when diversity is the rule and not the exception?
Serguei Alvarez Cartagena
Considering the values that define our pedagogical proposals (in this case: equity and equality in diversity, democracy, happiness, and individual and collective wellbeing), it is crucial to have the willingness, commitment and sensitivity to understand the diverse requirements in terms of the socioeconomic realities and individual processes of knowledge construction. If this perspective is disregarded, any pedagogical endeavor tending to standardization will be an achievement for a small group to the detriment of a larger collective.
Though access to technology is a right, it becomes useless if it is limited just to its physical implementation or to regular “training” to manage tools. Instead, technology must be at the service of developing new pedagogical proposals that allow to build learnings from protagonism, flexibility, adaptation and creativity.
Since the identification of the digital divide during the preventive and mandatory social isolation, the Association has had a permanent institutional policy of reflecting and updating on the use and understanding of the ICTs. What is your current reflection on this? What projects are part of the ICTs?
Serguei Alvarez Cartagena
The crucial reflection is related, once again, to the influence of technology in intercultural educational processes. During the years of restriction caused by the pandemic, which made us provide emergency educational services, we created the ICT Institutional Committee, made up of representatives from our four institutional programs (the school, the teacher training college, the radio for Andean girls and boys, and the free-time educational program for youth and teenagers ), as a transversal consultative body that proposes, coordinates and provides reflection upon the use of new technologies or their acquisition, if needed. For example, to implement the “Future Classroom Lab”, we reviewed experiences and, wherever possible, we visited educational experiences from other countries. We were able to create a bank of tablets as well as basic modules to have some digital classrooms to carry out live sessions when necessary. We will soon start the development of cross-cutting educational projects with the support of our pilot future classroom. Finally, we think that the development of digital citizenship is a key challenge in terms of digital competences, while continuing to strengthen the rest of the acquired competences.


Serguei Alvarez Cartagena

He holds a BA in Communication Sciences from the National University San Antonio Abad of Cusco. He is Co-director and member of the General Coordination of Pukllasunchis Association, and Coordinator at Pukllasunchis School. For the past 25 years he has been working as a teacher in the Departments of Communication at Pukllasunchis School, and Information and Communication Technology at the Pukllasunchis Teacher Training College.
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