20 18 • VO LUM E 65 , NUM BER 1 & 2 107
In Peru, media education has never been formally
present in the curriculum nor the educational agenda.
is presentation analyses Peruvian educational con-
text and explores pre-service teachers’ knowledge and
beliefs on media education. A survey with an ad-hoc
questionnaire (N=501) was applied to nd what they
think of media education; its relevance; how is being
taught; if they feel competent to teach about media
and to integrate ICT into their pedagogical practices.
e results conrm the importance of working media
education with pre-service teachers, involving their
subjectivity and their own ideas.
Media education, initial teacher training,
pre-service teachers, Peru
Latin America has made important contributions
to media education, both in theory, from authors
such as Paulo Freire and Jesús Martín-Barbero,
as well as grassroot initiatives. Sadly, these contribu-
tions have not been considered for the development
of public media education policies in the region. On
the contrary, “the deployment of computers in schools
appears as a popular and modernizing response to the
demands of renewing primary and secondary educa-
tion. is is particularly important in the context of
Latin American school education, as we witness pop-
ular demands to leapfrog from current conditions,
which are rather poor, to a better, quality-oriented sys-
tem” (Villanueva-Mansilla, 2016). us, “the educom-
munication eld has proved to be a fertile territory for
problematizing the tensions generated by the penetra-
tion of technological media in the society; however, it
has been poorly disseminated, which has resulted in
only a limited impact” (Mateus & Quiroz, 2017: 161).
Peru is a good example of this rationale. e
country took part in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)
program promoted by Nicholas Negroponte, and
bought more than 800 thousand laptops; however, the
program had no educational impact, to the point that
it has now been out-phased. During the last 30 years in
Peru, educational technology projects have oscillated
between the rationale of providing technology (com-
puters, Internet, robotics equipment, etc.), hoping that
their mere presence will improve media skills and di-
minish the digital gap; and the rationale of seeking to
incorporate and mainstream ICTs at all levels of the ed-
ucation system (Balarín, 2013: 41-42). Nevertheless, no
strategy so far has included media education.
A summary of the context
Peruvian education has large quality and infrastruc-
ture gaps as well as low performances on international
rankings. In the standardized PISA test, for instance,
Peru’s score in reading and math performance is one
of the lowest (rank 62/69). e cumulative expendi-
ture by educational institutions per student aged 6 to
15 (rank 49/50) is also very low. Likewise, the percent-
age of students attending government-independent
private schools is one of the highest among PISA par-
ticipating countries (rank 6/67), which broadens the
gaps between rich and poor students (OECD, 2018).
Are teachers ready?
Media literacy of teacher-training students in Peru
Julio-César Mateus, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
JULIO-CÉSAR MATEUS is currently a Ph.D. student at the University Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona.
He obtained a Fellowship from the Department of Communication and is a member of the Medium
Research Group. His research interests are the impact of media in teaching and learning processes. His
doctoral thesis explores media education in initial teacher training in Peru. He is a Tenured Professor at
the University of Lima and guest lecturer in other universities.
JO UR NAL OF MEDI A LI TE RA CY
by the Ministry of Education in 2010; however, it only
applies to pedagogical institutes. erefore, each uni-
versity denes its own study plan, which has caused
several and oen contradictory proles with dierent
objectives instead of a coherent and interconnected
system of initial training (Díaz, 2015: 25).
According to a study carried out by the Conse-
jo Nacional de Educación (2016), the three main ar-
eas for teacher training are “strategies and didactic of
learning areas” (27.1%), “materials for teaching and
using ICT” (18%) and “psychology and culture of
students” (14.3%). In many ways, all three areas are
related to media education: rstly, because media can
be both a didactic tool and an object of study, and sec-
ondly because media are part of everyone’s daily life
and therefore their impact on the psychology and cul-
ture of society are unquestionable. ese reasons seem
to be more than sucient for considering media edu-
cation as an urgent concern.
At the curricular level in schools, the presence of
media is circumstantial. However, in 2017, the Minis-
try launched a new National Curriculum. is norm
is compulsory for education at all levels and aects
both public and private schools. It introduces a com-
petency-based approach that aims to integrate content
and contextualize it based on actual day-to-day situ-
ations. Although media competence is not stated as
such, many of its conceptual proposals are present in
a disseminated way. In addition, there is a new trans-
versal competence called “ICT Competence”, dened
as the competence to develop in digital environments
generated by ICT. e aim is that students acquire four
skills: (i) customize virtual environments, (ii) manage
information of the virtual environment, (iii) interact in
virtual environments, and (iv) create virtual objects in
dierent formats (Mateus & Suárez-Guerrero, 2017).
Method and sample
is study is part of a Ph.D. research project that aims
to determine future teachers’ perceptions about media
education. In this article, we oer empirical evidence
of teachers’ subjectivity regarding media education.
According to previous works, exploring teachers’ be-
liefs can help to predict how they will use the media
in their professional practice (Mateus, 2016; Tondeur,
van Braak & Ertmer, 2017).
Based on the literature, we designed a ques-
In terms of media access, 88.7% of Peruvian cit-
izens have access to at least one ICT device, one in
three people has a computer at home, and the level of
Internet access has risen to 40.7% in total. Television
remains the most widely used source of information
and entertainment, despite the spread of the Internet
and the extensive coverage provided by mobile tele-
phone networks. On average, Peruvians watch televi-
sion 3 h 20 minutes per day, although there are large
variations between economic groups and regions.
(Guillen-Royo, 2018). In schools, access to ICT in
schools is more heterogeneous: one out of four schools
have computers with Internet access, but only 86% of
these computers are fully operational.
Initial teacher training: why do we care?
One of the keystones for developing media education
is initial teacher training. As stated in the presentation
of UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy Cur-
riculum for Teachers: “By educating students to be-
come media and information literate, teachers would
be responding rst to their role as advocates of an in-
formed and rational citizenry, and second, they would
be responding to changes in their role as educators, as
teaching moves away from being teacher-centred to
becoming more learner-centred” (UNESCO, 2011: 17).
Although much has been written on the subject,
few countries have taken specic actions in teacher
training and curricular development. In most cases,
the lack of standardized curricula at the international
and national levels has meant that “teacher training in
media literacy is [still] primarily a grassroots eort led
by impassioned educators” (Bulger & Davison, 2018).
In other areas where governments have made formal
initiatives, such as in Europe, eorts and resources
have focused more on digital competence rather than
media literacy, and thus there is an unnecessary prolif-
eration of dierent media literacy frameworks (Buck-
In Peru, initial teacher training is oered by three
types of institutions: universities; pedagogical insti-
tutes and artistic training colleges. Currently, there are
almost half a million in-service teachers and 50,000
education students. 63% of Peruvian teachers have
been trained in institutes and 36% in universities. Un-
like other countries, in Peru there are no “white pa-
pers” nor government guidance for teacher training.
ere is only one national curricular design approved
20 18 • VO LUM E 65 , NUM BER 1 & 2 109
stated that, on one hand, it must be specic, that is,
have one or more subjects of the curriculum dedicated
exclusively to it, and on the other hand, it is necessary
at all levels of schooling (pre-primary, primary and
Moreover, the lack of initial training is clearly
perceived as one of the barriers to developing me-
dia education. In fact, this item scored higher than
the lack of equipment, which proves the importance
of investing in human resources as a priority before
buying ICT devices (thinking of them as a solution
in themselves). Access to ICT in Peruvian schools is
rather limited (only 25% of schools have an Internet
connection and the computer per student ratio is 1 to
6). However, despite the importance of having media
available in the classroom, media is already pervasive
in the students’ everyday lives, so it shouldn’t be con-
sidered a requisite for media education.
Furthermore, informal learning environments
should be recognized as important places for develop-
ing media skills, so teachers could also take advantage
of the media contexts outside the classroom. As Sco-
lari (2018: 7) states, “media educators have always at-
tempted to build upon these forms of everyday knowl-
edge – recognizing them as legitimate in their own
terms but also seeking to make them more systematic,
more comprehensive and more critical”.
Finally, we looked at the reasons education stu-
dents gave for integrating media in schools. In pre-
vious works, we demonstrated that it is necessary to
pay attention to teachers’ beliefs about media because
their attitudes are what will help or hinder the process
of integrating ICT into their teaching practices (Mate-
us, 2016: 191). To do so, we proposed a series of rea-
sons for teaching about and with media. e items of
this section were ranked the highest of all 15 items of
e reason for teaching digital skills with the
highest score was “motivating students”, while the one
with the lowest score was “training a key competence”.
is makes a lot of sense.
Firstly, motivating students is a common rea-
son that teachers use to justify the importance of ICT.
Even though they are not fully trained and aware of
the emotional eects of media, they have no doubts
about this. Teachers want to take advantage of media’s
interactivity and engaging qualities, which are consid-
tionnaire to evaluate the knowledge and attitudes of
teachers in training to media education as well as the
rationale for integrating it in schools. e instrument
includes 15 items organized into three dimensions.
We used a Likert scale of 5 points based on levels of
acceptance of each item (1 = strongly disagree, and 5
= totally agree). In addition, demographic and other
useful data were collected (sex, age, place of birth, de-
gree year and degree specializations).
e sample was composed of 501 education
students from three universities and one institute in
Lima, capital of Peru. e age of the participants var-
ied between 18 and 42 years old (M = 22, SD = 2.46).
86% of participants were women and 14% men. e
eldwork was carried out in September and Octo-
ber 2017. e statistical validation gave good results
(Cronbach Alpha = 0.8139), which conrmed the in-
ternal coherence of the instrument.
In general terms, the questionnaire revealed that fu-
ture teachers have a very limited knowledge of media
education. Less than 20% of the participants knew
what it meant and were able to dene it. Participants
felt they had not received any training on the subject
as part of their preparation. us, only 16% said they
had received “some kind of media education” during
their training. In addition, the years of training are not
positively correlated with greater condence in their
media education knowledge. erefore, we cannot say
that media education increases at later stages in their
degree. Furthermore, participants had little knowl-
edge about institutions, projects or policies that pro-
mote media education in the country, which reveals
that media literacy is not an important part of the ed-
We also asked the students about their attitudes
towards media education. We found that their percep-
tions were very favorable, which conrms the neces-
sity to receive media education as part of their train-
ing. Almost three-quarters of them agreed or strongly
agreed that digital literacy training should be com-
pulsory for teachers. However, there was a signicant
dierence in secondary school teachers compared to
primary school teachers.
When asked about what media education should
include to be eective in teacher training, participants
JO UR NAL OF MEDI A LI TE RA CY
it applies to new modes of perception and language, to
new sensibilities and writings that must be considered
in schools”. ere is a long way to go so that media ed-
ucation becomes part of the Peruvian education agen-
da, but we have already taken the rst steps. L
Balarin, M. (2013) Las políticas TIC en los sistemas educativos de
América Latina: Caso Perú. Buenos Aires: UNICEF.
Bulger, M. & Davison, P. (2018) e Promises, Challenges and Futures
of Media Literacy. Journal of Media Literacy Education 10(1), 1-21.
Buckingham, D. (2018) Media literacy policy in Europe: where are
we going? Retrieved from: https://davidbuckingham.net/2018/05/18/
Consejo Nacional de Educación (2016) Encuesta Nacional a Docentes
de Instituciones Educativas Estatales y No Estatales - ENDO 2014.
Díaz, H. (2015) Formación docente en el Perú. Realidades y
tendencias. Lima: Santillana.
European Commission (2017). Evaluar la competencia Digital del
Profesorado. Propuesta para un Marco Europeo para la competencia
digital del profesorado (DigCompEdu).
Ferrés, J., Masanet, M.J. & Mateus, J.C. (2018) ree paradoxes in the
approach to educational technology in the education studies of the
Spanish universities. International Journal of Educational Technology in
Higher Education, 15(15). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-018-0097-y
Guillen-Royo, M. (2018). Television, Sustainability and Subjective
Wellbeing in Peru. Social Indicators Research. 1- 23. https://doi.
Martín-Barbero, J. (1998) Inheriting the future. inking education
from communication. Culture and Education, 10(1), 17-34. https://
Mateus, J.C. (2016). Abrumados y fascinados: Las TIC en la
subjetividad de los docentes peruanos. Redes, (12), 170-193. https://
Mateus, J.C. & Suárez-Guerrero, C. (2017). La competencia TIC en
el nuevo currículo peruano desde la perspectiva de la educación
mediática. EDMETIC, 6(2), 129-147. https://doi.org10.21071/edmetic.
Mateus, J.C. y Quiroz, M.T. (2017). Educommunication: a theoretical
approach of studying media in school environments. Revista
Latinoamericana de Ciencias de la Comunicación, 14(26), 152-163.
Retrieved from http://alaic.org/revistaalaic/index.php/alaic/issue/view/29
OECD (2018) PISA 2015 Results in Focus. Retrieved from https://
Scolari, C.A. (ed.) Teens, media and collaborative cultures: exploiting
teens’ transmedia skills in the classroom. Barcelona: Universitat
Pompeu Fabra. Retrieved from: https://repositori.upf.edu/
UNESCO (2011) Media and Information Literacy Curriculum
for Teachers. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/
Villanueva-Mansilla, E. (2016). Technological Illusions and
Educational Resistances: e Public Discourse about OLPC in Peru
and Its Policy Failure. In Handbook of Research on Comparative
Approaches to the Digital Age Revolution in Europe and the
Americas. (pp. 428 - 443). Hershey, Pennsylvania. IGI Global.
ered intrinsic features of media. However, to eective-
ly use media for motivating students, teachers need to
understand neuroscience’s discoveries about the func-
tioning of the human brain. For instance, they need to
understand, from a scientic perspective, why stories
are much more eective than explicit information for
learning content (Ferrés, Masanet & Mateus, 2018).
Secondly, we can conrm that in the Peruvian
case media literacy is not conceived as a key compe-
tence because it is not part of the National Curricu-
lum. Peruvian teachers still think of media as tools and
independent devices used for educational purposes.
e absence of validated instruments for measuring
pre-service teachers’ perceptions on media educa-
tion makes it dicult to determine how they are be-
ing trained in this area. We proposed an instrument
that fullls this purpose; however, further research is
necessary to prove the usefulness of this instrument in
e results give us enough evidence of the ne-
cessity to introduce and promote media education in
Peru because future teachers are not fully aware of its
potential. is is an opportunity for developing proj-
ects at various levels and new subjects in initial teacher
Unlike other concepts rooted in school tradition,
such as mathematics or artistic education, the con-
ception of what is media education is still ambiguous.
Much responsibility for this situation rests with local
authorities and institutions, which have not consid-
ered the media as a cultural experience but rather as
a repertoire of devices used only for facilitating and
motivating the learning experience. Our study clear-
ly shows that pre-service teachers want media educa-
tion to be part of their training and would like it to be
treated more specically in the teacher training cur-
riculum. Although the lack of infrastructure should be
considered, training teachers in media education from
early stages should also be a priority
e reasons Peruvian pre-service teachers give
for including media training in schools are favorable
but seem to be stuck in an instrumental approach
(considering media only as didactic aids), rather than
as a study object in itself. As Jesús Martín Barbero
(1998) said, “technology is far more than a few devices,