Advocacy Kit for Promoting Multilingual Education – Including the Excluded

Having worked in Vietnam for the last 4 years I realise the importance of providing governments enough hard information and research findings to base education policy which will first of all realise EFA and Millenium Development Goals but also provide meaningful learning experiences for all children.

From UNESCO as reported in the INEE newsletter:

In some countries in Asia, bi/multilingual education programmes, through non-formal education, are helping to prepare ethnic/linguistic minority learners for literacy in both mother tongue and national languages. However, there is a serious lack of recognition and understanding of the role that bi/multilingual education can play in increasing enrolment, retention and achievement in the formal school system. This kit advocates making education systems more responsive to cultural diversity. It provides important insights into the value of mother tongue-based multilingual education, which respects the rights of children and learners and encourages readers to think about the importance of language issues and to investigate them further. It builds on research findings and experiences gained over many years by many organizations and individuals working on mother tongue-based multilingual education.

This kit contains three main booklets. Each booklet has a designated audience: 1) policy makers, 2) education programme planners and practitioners and 3) community members.

This kit can be used in many different ways. For those who are already involved in MLE programmes, you might use these ideas to help you to promote mother tongue instruction and strengthen your programme.   Those who are not familiar with multilingual education but want to improve educational access for minority language students might use these booklets to identify specific points that they can investigate and discuss in their own contexts.

To access the complete toolkit click here.

And in the same vein:

On February 19th, the United Nations launched UN Language Days, a new initiative which seeks to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the Organization.

UN duty stations around the world will celebrate six new observances dedicated to a UN official language: French (20 March), English (23 April), Russian (6 June), Spanish (12 October), Arabic (18 December) and Chinese (to be determined).

The new initiative – which seeks to increase awareness and respect for the history, culture and achievements of each of the six working languages among the UN community – is part of this year’s observance of International Mother Language Day, observed annually on 21 February.

The observance of the Day will also feature a special screening of the Danish documentary In Languages We Live – Voices of the World at UN Headquarters in New York today. The film explores the world’s linguistic diversity, especially in light of the fact that half of the world’s approximately 6,500 languages will disappear by the end of the century – currently, at least one language is disappearing every 14 days.

In addition, a two-day symposium on translation and cultural mediation will open on 22 February at the Paris headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

This year, UNESCO is celebrating Mother Language Day as part of the 2010 International Year of Rapprochement of Cultures (2010), the agency’s Director-General Irina Bokova noted in her message for the Day.

For more information visit: http://www.unesco.org/en/languages-in-education

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