Showing posts from 2010

[MLE] 3 minute MLE Advocacy Video on YouTube

 Dear MLE friends, UNESCO Bangkok has just uploaded a new short MLE advocacy video on YouTube. Check it out at: Most of you know that there is also an INDIA SPECIFIC short video on YouTube: Actually in that channel there are 11 more MLE video fragments which you might enjoy:

[MLE]Mother tongue based pre-school in Orissa; Ullash

Dear MLE friends, Sometimes you come across good new MLE related initiatives. Here is one: The NGO Ullash is  piloting of a mother tongue based pre-school programme in Orissa. They write on their website ( ):  The Programme “ Successful Transition for Young Tribal Children in Odisha” primarily focuses on the preparation and piloting of a mother tongue based pre-school programme which will enhance children's learning in Anganwadis and pre-schools / other ECE centres and give them a sound foundation for a smooth transition to primary schools. The project is supported by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation and implemented by the state government and NGOs (PREM, CYSD and CLAP) in remote rural and tribal pockets.

[MLE] Outcomes of MDG conference in Thailand

Dear MLE friends, Last month the International conference on “ Language, Education and the Millennium Development Goals ” took place. About 400 participants from all over the world were present. High government officials from China and other countries used the conference to learn more about the language issue and my understanding is they are already following this up with action. From India we had Sanjeev  Raj (Save the Children), Ft Mahipal Bhuriya (Adivasi Navotthan Sanstha), Abraham Jose (Nirman) and Dhir Jingran (Room to Read) present (maybe more that I am not aware of). The Unesco website reports ... The three-day forum provided a platform to share ideas and inspire action to increase access to education and development for ethno-linguistic communities by increasing understanding of the linkages between language and achieving the MDGs and EFA; fostering connections among a broad set

[MLE] Sadri school started

Dear MLE friends, The Calcutta edition of The Telegraph reported last week the start of a Sadri MLE school:     The Adivasi Sahitya Sabha is gearing up to start a unique school where Adivasi students will get the opportunity to study in the popular Adivasi language — Sadri.     ...     “The school will help the students to learn fast and make their classes interesting. Even if the students shift to other languages later, they will face less problems after continuing a few years in their mother tongue,” he said.

[MLE] Symposium/workshop in Guwahati

Dear MLE friends, Last month Guwahati University, in collaboration with SIL, organised a 10 day MLE workshop-cum-Symposium on Mother Tongue Based MLE. Prof. dr. Jyotiprakash Tamuli reports: “ The content was designed in a systematic order to not only show the background rationale as to why MTB-MLE is needed, but also to demonstrate the various steps which are needed to ensure strong foundations in the mother tongue before transitioning into 2nd and/or 3rd languages. The mornings tended to be presentation/theory-oriented, while the afternoons were given over to practical sessions and/or case studies. Most people used PPTs for their presentations, and included various types of group work within their presentations to ensure maximum involvement by participants.” About 30 people participated from the university as well as DIETs, SCERT, some schools and NGOs. Attached is a

[MLE] Language, Education and the Millennium Development Goals Conference - Nov. 9-11, 2010

Dear MLE friends, After the below language related conference announcement was send out, several of you asked for more details. At that time they were available but now it is. See attached.

[MLE] Dissertation on: Language, Education, and Empowerment, Dr Cynthia Groff

Dear MLE friends, Some of you know Cynthia Groff as she did extensive research in India on multilingualism. Her dissertation on " Language, Education, and Empowerment: Voices of Kumauni Young Women in Multilingual India " has now been published on the web: .

[MLE] Report on a well functioning MLE project in Orissa

Dear MLE friends, It is not often that I write something on this list about a personal experience. But I am so enthusiastic about an MLE programme I visited last week as an external evaluator, that I would like to share about it. Two of my assumptions were challenged. 1. NGOs do adult education; governments do primary education. 2. NGOs and government schools are in competition with each other. Doubly wrong! Here was an NGO successfully strengthening the primary schools in the villages by running MLE classes for children. The NGO, Asha Kiran Society, Lamptaput, Orissa, is running MLE classes in 15 villages. I visited 4 villages, observed classes and talked extensively with the village leaders. Sitting under a tree talking with the villagers, I asked them if the teachers of the MLE programme do actually show up. A whole choir of voices responded with an “Of course”. They explained that the MLE teachers even ask permission

[MLE] Q-A brochure from the Philippines

Dear MLE friends, Question-Answer type of leaflets can be very helpful in interacting with Government officials and NGO leaders. Attached is an A4 size simple 20 point brochure to explain MLE in the Philippines context. Most points also apply to India.

[MLE] New book "Multilingual Education Works: From the Periphery to the Centre"

Dear MLE friends, Good books that are affordable are rare. Fortunately the authors/editors of the latest book on MLE, K. Heugh & T. Skutnabb-Kangas, choose India as the place to publish. Give the impressive list of authors, Dr Ajit Mohanty being one of them, content wise it will be good too.  More details below.

[MLE] Using Same Language Subtitles to boost literacy ability

Dear MLE friends, Subtitling a television programme resulting in significant  increase of literacy rates, sounds too nice to be true, but it seems to be happening: "India’s public karaoke-for-literacy experiment is the only one of its kind in the world. Technically known as same-language subtitling, or SLS, it manages to reach 200 million viewers across 10 states every week. In the last nine years, functional literacy in areas with SLS access has more than doubled. And the subtitles have acted as a catalyst to quadruple the rate at which completely illiterate adults become proficient readers." Even if the claim would be a bit optimistic, the article is worth reading. Combining mass entertainment with learning is very attractive. Of course this works in the first place for state languages, but also in some of the bigger unrecognised languages videos are produced and are very popular (Kuma

[MLE] Young Lives Project--long-term international research project

Dear MLE friends, Long term impact is what really matters. However longitudinal  research is rare. The  Young Lives Project   is a long-term international research project"investigating the changing nature of childhood poverty". India has been chosen as one of their focus countries. The question is asked: "What does the future hold for the 2000 Young Lives index children born in the state of Andhra Pradesh?". As mother tongue is part of the data documented, this research is also relevant to language and education issues. Some findings of the 2008 second round of survey in India : "We  found  that  household  and  community characteristics  greatly  influence  children’s  outcomes, particularly ethnicity, the rural-urban divide (which affects access to services among other things) and parents’  levels  of  education.  Household wealth  is  an

[MLE]: Pre-registration for International Conference on Language, Education and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), 9-11 November

- Dear MLE friends, Attached is more info about the registration for the the November Bangkok Conference on the millennium goals in relation to language and education. Some explanation is below.

[MLE] Professor Prasanna Sree has designed the script for 10 tribal languages

Dear MLE friends, Ten more scripts in India! All designed by Professor Prasanna Sree, senior professor, Department of English, Andhra University. See newspaper item copied below or click this link: I am not sure it will be of real help and meeting a need, but it is for sure an interesting initiative. Unlike as in e.g. Europe in India script and language are strongly related. Many do not perceive their language as a proper "language" if it does not have a distinct script. However from a pedagogical viewpoint a separate script is a headage as for the learning children.  The transition from the local language to the language of wider communication will be hampered.

[MLE] October MLE course at Chiang Mai

Dear MLE friends,   Did I already inform you about the MLE certificate Course in October (11 October to 5 November) offered in Thailand?    I just got some updated information. See details below.

[MLE] Website launched of the Intl. Conference on Language, Education and MDGs, 9-11 Nov 2010, Bangkok THAILAND

Dear MLE friends, Via this list you have heard before about the  Intl. Conference on Language, Education and MDGs , 9-11 Nov 2010, Bangkok THAILAND. There is now a good website with all needed information.

[MLE] Bangkok MLE WG Monthly Bulletin - June 2010

Dear MLE friends, There is quite a bit happening regarding MLE in Asia and other countries. Attached is a newsletter from the Asia Multilingual Education Working Group with several enytries including a few from India. If you would like to receive regular updates directly from the Bangkok MLE WG, please write to . 

[MLE] E-book from Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas

Dear MLE friends, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas was one of the main speakers at the MLE-JNU conference in Delhi a couple of years ago. Her new book " Indigenous Children's Education as Linguistic Genocide and a Crime Against Humanity? A Global View " has now been published, and is available free of charge as an e-book. You can read it at

[MLE] Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity + Funding Opportunities

Dear MLE friends, Some of you have asked for funding opportunities for your language related project. You might want to check out this website of the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity. It gives an overview of potential donors and includes some general advice on applying for grants. (Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity)

[MLE] Is the US a monolingual country?

Dear MLE friends, We sometimes talk as if India is unique in its multi-linguistic situation. And yes, of course it is. But the following quote might surprise you: "While there is no precise count, some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages — far more than the 176 spoken by students in the city's public schools or the 138 that residents of Queens, New York's most diverse borough, listed on their 2000 census forms "

[MLE] Migrants issues / NORRAG Article on India

Dear MLE friends, Two items came in after the reports on the Right to Education act. Sanjeev Rai, National Manager-Education, Save the Children India , raises the complicated issue of the language constrains for children of migrant labourers: “ Language of instruction has become a major obstacle  before children of migrant labourers .No school could deny admission of these migrant children but  without ensuring proper provisions in the  destination schools children can’t stay  there. Save the Children has been working with the seasonal  migrant children from Jharkhand staying with their parents near Brick Kilns of West Bengal. The medium of instruction in elementary schools of West Bengal  is Bangla  and Hindi  for the  Jharkhand so inter-state coordination  must be in place to ensure the realization of Right to Education by the marginalized children of the country.”

[MLE] Responses to the Right to Education Act in relation to Mother tongue

Dear MLE friends, That the “Right to Education Bill” came in to force last week made several authors publish about it. Since the line on the use of the mother-tongue is rather weak, not too many articles focussed on MLE. Still a few interesting quotes from different places: In a broader article on the act in the Indian Express Madhavi Kapur states the following: “ Then there is the question of learning through the mother tongue. Educators have been crying themselves hoarse about the psychological, emotional and social implications of learning through a foreign language in the first five years of school. The aspirations of the people point clearly in the opposite direction. Everyone wants English for their children for obvious reasons. In enjoining us to “use the mother tongue as far as possible as the medium of instruction” the policy makers seem to be hunting with the hound and running with the hare. The possibilities of bilingualism have been left unexplored. It is time to

[MLE] Responses to the Right to Education Act in relation to Mother tongue

Dear MLE friends, That the "Right to Education Bill" came in to force last week made several authors publish about it. Since the line on the use of the mother-tongue is rather weak, not too many articles focussed on MLE. Still a few interesting quotes from different places: In a broader article on the act in the Indian Express Madhavi Kapur states the following: " Then there is the question of learning through the mother tongue. Educators have been crying themselves hoarse about the psychological, emotional and social implications of learning through a foreign language in the first five years of school. The aspirations of the

[MLE] Newspaper article on Orissa MLE programme

Dear MLE friends, Yesterday a nice article appeared in the Express Newspaper about the Orissa MLE programme. You can find it at (text copied below). A nice encouragement to Dr Mahendra Mishra and his team!

[MLE] Guardian Article "Stark Lessons in Mother Tongue"

Dear MLE friends, In an article entitled "Stark Lessons in Mother Tongue," the on-line Guardian Weekly draws attention to a joint report published in April 2009 which discusses the difficulties children face when their education is conducted in an unfamiliar language. The Guardian Weekly states: International charities are warning that global efforts to raise education outcomes are being held back by the widespread denial of schooling in children's first languages. Developing countries are unlikely to meet UN targets for improving education because of the widespread marginalization of students' first languages, which results in teaching being delivered in languages that children struggle to understand or to use effectively. This is the stark warning

[MLE] L1-based MLE at the ECCE-level - UNESCO report released

Dear MLE friends, There is an increased interest in early childhood and MLE. Unesco just published a report about is. Here are the details:   ENHANCING LEARNING OF CHILDREN FROM DIVERSE LANGUAGE BACKGROUNDS: MOTHER TONGUE-BASED BILINGUAL OR MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION IN THE EARLY YEARS. U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Jessica Ball. 2010. The literature review discusses mother tongue-based bilingual or multilingual education for children starting in early childhood. The report informs policy-makers of existing research and practices in mother-tongue instruction in early childhood and early primary school

[MLE] Training Materials and other resources

Dear MLE friends, Some of us are always looking for good training material in areas like multi lingualism, reading, writing, language learning, etc. The Training for Early Literacy Learning (TELL) department of the South African National Centre for Learning and Literacy is offering all their materials for free on the internet.  Check it out on Some of the details are copied below.

[MLE] EFA Monitoring report

Dear MLE friends, The Unesco EFA Monitoring report which was released last week has lots of references to language issues. One quote: "People who do not speak a country's official language often face marginalization in education and beyond. Around 221 million children speak a different language at home from the language of instruction in school. Put simply, one of the reasons that many linguistic and ethnic minority children perform poorly in school is that they are taught in a language they struggle to understand. Addressing language-related disadvantage confronts governments and households with major challenges. Research demonstrates that children in the

[MLE] Request: Take ten minutes to tackle the big questions on language and education!

Dear MLE friends, Below is a request from Save the Children UK to give input in a discussion on MLE. Use this opportunity and make sure the South Asian voice get heard!

[MLE] Death of last speaker of the Bo language in India

Dear MLE friends, Even though it is not education related it is definitely language and India related hence I forward this: newspapers all over the globe are reporting on the dying of the Bo language. Prof Dr Anvita Abbi of JNU is well featured in the articles. Thank you, Anvita, for the tremendous effort you are making in documenting these vanishing languages!

[MLE] Newspaper: Don't teach English in Class 1- continuation

Dear MLE friends, The same author, Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar, wrote a follow-up article on the article mentioned below. That means that he received several responses which is a good sign. This time he titled the column: "What does the mother tongue mean?". The content is again not very strong, but it is good that it keeps the topic on the agenda. Here is the link:

[MLE] Newspaper: Don't teach English in Class 1

Dear MLE friends, It is not too often that a newspaper article writes against using English in grade 1. The attached/below article that appeared in the Times of India a couple of days ago uses the ASER report and the writing of World Bank scholar Dr Helen Abadzi to build the case. A quote: Premature teaching of a second language - like English - can prevent a child from learning to read fast enough in its mother tongue. Early reading and writing is vital: children that cannot do so fluently by Class 2 will likely never catch up with classmates in higher classes.

[MLE] Inspiring report from the grass roots

Dear MLE friends,   Attached is an exciting personal story from an MLE grass roots level worker in our neighbouring country B'desh. A quote: We divided  the school year  into 30 weeks and developed one  theme  for each week. Each theme had a daily  lesson  plan,  big  picture  related  to  the  theme,  a  big  book,  a  listening  story,  and  "facts  and information" activities  using  flash  cards, songs,  rhymes or  games, etc. So,  in 10 months, a  total of  1200  different  learning materials  were  produced  for  Preprimary  I  classes. When  I  look  back  and  consider  the number of materials that were produced, printed, transported, and made available to 89 schools, 

[MLE] Language, Education and the Millennium Development Goals Conference - Nov. 9-11, 2010

Dear MLE friends First of all: a happy new year to you! The first MLE related announcement that I received this year is quite exciting: The 1st International Conference on "Language, Education and the Millennium Development Goals" will be held November 9-11 in Bangkok, Thailand sponsored by a consortium of organizations from the Asia Multilingual Education Working Group, particularly: UNESCO, UNICEF, SEAMEO, Mahidol University, SIL International and Save the Children. Join with representatives from government and intergovernmental agencies, NGOs, academics and local community organi