Wednesday, December 24, 2014

International Mother Language Day Celebration 2015

Concept note

Theme:  Inclusion in and through education: Language counts

Description:  2015 will be the year for stock taking around international education goals. It is

therefore being proposed that the theme for IMLD 2015 focus on one of the main challenges that

cuts across many of the goals, i.e.  Inclusion (equity/quality)

As the EFA Goals are far from attained due, in part, to the difficulties of reaching the worst-off

segments of the population, the debate around language and education becomes more central.

Linguistic minorities are often among the most marginalized populations, with little or poor access

to quality education. When they do have access to education, learners from these communities are

often either excluded from opportunities to pursue their educational career beyond primary or

pushed out of education because the language of instruction is not their own.

If the international community wishes to achieve education for all girls and boys in the near future,

more appropriate approaches to language education will have to be promoted and implemented.

For UNESCO, “appropriate language education” is fundamental to enable learners to benefit from

quality education, learn throughout life, and have access to information.  This is possible     if there

is an approach to language education that promotes the use of at least three languages: one of

which should be a mother tongue or first language (c.f.: the standard set by UNESCO in its

position paper, Education in a Multilingual World).

Language education can also be seen as a means to ensure that down the road learners

participate as global citizens, acting for change at both the local and global levels.

The presentations and discussions foreseen on the occasion of IMLD 2015 will seek to

demonstrate that quality language education (and multilingual education in particular) is an

effective means to ensure inclusion in and through education and build global citizens.                  

If undertaken appropriately, it can equip learners with the language skills they need to contribute

proactively to their societies creating a more peaceful, inclusive and sustainable world. Language

education also offers a framework for transmitting values and knowledge that strengthen a sense

of belonging to both local and global communities, which are the starting point of civic

But much remains to be done to make sure language education does generate such returns.

During the celebration of mother Language Day 2015 we will review the challenges to the

implementation of “appropriate language education” and highlight examples of good practices      

in this area, which can inspire Member States and partners to support its development and use.
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