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April 24, 2024
Education

UNESCO ADVOCATES FOR USE OF MOTHER TONGUE EDUCATION

Maseru, Feb. 21 — The choice of a language of instruction that the learners understand and speak is well recognized as one determiner of inclusive and equitable education, and as a key component of accomplishing both Sustainable Development Goal four (SDG 4) and the Global Education 2030 Agenda.

In commemoration of the International Mother Language celebrated annually on February 21, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) focuses on multilingual education as a pillar to intergenerational learning which is this year’s theme. 

It says  child learns best in their mother tongue, to maintain the positive effects of teaching and learning in the early years, the mother tongue language needs to be sufficiently developed before any transition to second language instruction. 

”For minority populations in particular, the use of their own language as the medium of instruction can mean the difference between success and failure in education”, says UNESCO. 

UNESCO believes in the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity for sustainable societies. It is within its mandate for peace that it works to preserve the differences in cultures and languages that foster tolerance and respect for others. 

UNESCO calls on governments to ensure multilingual education within their formal and non-formal education systems to ensure intergenerational learning and the harmonious and fruitful coexistence of languages.  

These efforts will help to advance the SDGs and the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Languages, and the essential contribution of knowledge systems and worldviews transmitted through language.

Globally 40 per cent of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Nevertheless, progress is being made in multilingual education with growing understanding of its importance, particularly in early schooling, and more commitment to its development in public life. 

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