Wednesday, December 19, 2012

[MLE] A positive newspaper article on MLE pilot projects in Assam

Dear multilingual education friends,

In Assam some good pilots are going on and the press has found them. Last week the attached article appeared in a newspaper in Assam. Interestingly the article highlights that from the boy they feature his English has become better. It seems that is an important point for advocacy because it is English that the society values most. A quote:
"Kisun, however, is an exception. He is the only one in the family who attends an Adivasiya school and can read and write English"

"'Earlier when I was studying in the LP school in the village, I could not understand English or follow any of my lessons. However, after coming to Adivasiya school, I can read and write English to some extent. I have also learned my own language better now.'"
The article then continues to explain more about the school, the pilot project and the brother MLE efforts in the country and worldwide. See Article.

[MLE] Times of India: Writers pitch for mother tongue

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

A group of writers in Karnataka submitted a petition to the supreme court in favour of mother tongue medium education supporting the state government's rule on this regard

Are you interested in this in more detail, control click on the following: Times of India: Writers pitch for mother tongue


A quote from the petition:
"Children can learn better in their mother tongue and it's the appropriate medium. Even Mahatma Gandhi had echoed the same view. Nobody has opposed English. English can be taught as one of the subjects at primary level.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

[MLE] Decade Notes on Education for All ; Early childhood


Dear multilingual education friends,

The first End of Decade Note on Education for All 2012 is on Early Childhood Care and Education. It is published by UNICEF and UNESCO Asia Pacific.“The EDN present a review of regional and national progress toward the six EFA goals, take stock of the progress, persisting issues and remaining challenges in achieving the goals, and highlight examples of innovative policy reforms and strategies, particularly those aimed at reducing disparities in access to and quality of education.”
Have a look at Section 4.3 on MLE’s value for addressing language inequities, “Addressing Language Inequities in Ethnolinguistic and Indigenous Communities: The Value of Multilingual Education.” Here are some quotes:

In many countries, there is a perception that using a native or minority language may hinder economic progress.”
 
But there is an excellent counter-example to this quote as follows:
In these communities, experiences in the region point to the need for encouraging young students to consider careers in ECCE; for example, to prepare teachers for ECCE programmes in Nepal, the Government introduced early childhood development as an optional subject in the secondary school curriculum (grades 9 and 10). Graduates with early childhood development as their optional subject are given priority to work as ECCE teachers in the future. In these communities, ECCE provides a double dividend: a pathway towards the holistic development of young children and the empowerment of youth in the community.”

And regarding a research done in Vietnam:
The results indicated superior performance by the cohort of students who had received mother-tongue based ECCE in key areas of cognitive development”

Friday, November 16, 2012

[MLE] Is 3 years enough? Research findings from Cameroon

Dear  Multilingual Education friends,

Is three years of mother tongue medium education long enough? There is a report (The Kom Experimental Mother Tongue Education Pilot Project. Report for 2012,” by Stephen L. Walter and Kain Godfrey Chuo) on the Kom Pilot project in Cameron where children from 12 different schools were educated in their mother tongue, Kom, for three years and joined the main stream school grade 4 onwards. The research compares these students with their comparison group with English medium education while they are grade 3, 4, and 5. Here I quote some of their main findings and suggestions.
    1. The three year period of the intervention is not long enough to adequately prepare students for an effective transition to L2 instruction. (Note: Those who have been in English-only schools for all 5 years are even less prepared for the demands of Class 5 than are the children from experimental schools.)
    2. The students coming from the experimental schools still show in Class 5 some of the educational benefits derived from having been in the experimental program.”
To access to the full report, click here with control key: http://www.mlenetwork.org/sites/default/files/The%20Kom%20MLE%20Project%202012.pdf

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

[MLE] Advocacy video from ABC Australia in Timor Leste

Dear Multilingual Education Friends,

Here is an video on mother tongue based MLE in Timor Leste by ABC Australia. Note that there IS opposition and misunderstanding to the program but the program is still going on.

Friday, October 12, 2012

[MLE] Bilingualism benefits


Dear Multilingual Education friends,

A recent study from Europe is showing that Children from low income families benefit from being bilingual. NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum) based in England highlights an interesting study on this topic in their website (http://www.naldic.org.uk/eal-advocacy/eal-news-summary/200912?dm_i=11M1,Z16E,7M1CX5,2XSTQ,1 ). Quote:
This is the first study to show that, although they may face linguistic challenges, minority bilingual children from low-income families demonstrate important strengths in other cognitive domains.....Our study suggests that intervention programs that are based on second language teaching are a fruitful avenue for future research” says Engel de Abreu.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

[MLE]: The Hindu: Let a hundred tongues be heard

Dear multilingual Education friends,

Shrimps back gets broken when whales fight. This is an idiom from Korean, meaning when there is fighting between powerful men, weak people could be a scapegoat of the fighting unless they are very careful. This metaphor seems to fit well in this big fighting between English and Hindi and many other local languages which could be scapegoats of this fighting. The English whale seems to be winning the game as there are scare materials available in Hindi for tertiary level education in Delhi and even many government schools in Karnataka will use English as a medium to compete with English medium private schools. Sumanyu Satpathy, linguist at the University of Delhi, wrote an article on it in the Hindu. A few quotes:
“The domination of English and Hindi is turning Indian education and culture into a depressingly monolingual affair.”
“If you live in any of the Hindi-speaking States, it is likely that every other day you would hear of debates about the future of Hindi. Naturally, the spectacular rise of Hindi is not often talked about in these quarters as a threat to the linguistic diversity in India,”
“the Odisha government has announced that English medium public schools will be set up in three tribal districts in the State. This is going to prove disastrous for the linguistic ecology of India, and consequently for the local cultures.”
 “not an insignificant number of students in premier departments and colleges in Delhi University complain of the dearth of textbook material in Hindi. Elsewhere in India, higher education is also officially available in both English and the State language; but the production of textbooks in the local language is awfully impoverished.”
 “The argument here is not about banning English medium schools; far from it. It is, rather, for strengthening local-language-medium schools, improving their pedagogic tools, and for generating opportunities in the local markets on a par with the globalised market for a healthy linguistic diversity.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

[MLE] Article "Linguistic Right And Language of Politics "

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

Samir Karmakar of Jadavpur University , Kolkata wrote on CounterCurrent an short article on Linguistic Right And Language of Politics. He points out through a powerful graph that even the state languages are declining. He criticises the multilingual education efforts as they still seems to promote a shift to English:
The introduction of mother tongue in the elementary education, as is proposed by different agencies, is mainly from the angle of cognitive development. In order to facilitate the young learners' cognitive development, their mother tongues are proposed to include in the language curriculum in elementary level under the assumption that, as has been pointed out by World Bank in Priorities and Strategies for Education (1995), this approach will “promote the cognitive development needed for learning a second language”. As the learner moves to the higher education, mother tongue will be gradually replaced by English only. (How innocent could be the ambush to clear the blockage in the name of “God”, “an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship”!)
He argues:
Introduction of mother tongue in the elementary education is not enough to empower the people linguistically, until and unless it's presence in the entry point to the market is assured. What is required to assure the latter one is the political and economical empowerment of All. Interestingly, not much hullaballoo on this issue!
His conclusion is:
A true multilingual approach should unleash the scope to all at every level of the tertiary educational system in India ; and this can be achieved only through the political and economical empowerment of all. If this demand sounds too much to achieve the stated goal of multilingualism we need to recognize linguistic liberty is still a distant dream even after the half decades of political independence.

Friday, September 14, 2012

[MLE] Spell well, read well, write well

Dear multilingual education friends,

The value of a working orthography is often overlooked while pursuing MLE. We often focus on the educational factors and tend to overlook the linguistics. Butch Hernandez wrote an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Spell well, read well, write well in which he writes that teacher want to develop learning material, but often struggle:
The problem lies in orthography, or more specifically, the absence of one for the desired mother tongue. Orthography is actually the set of spelling and writing rules that govern a particular language.
In her piece “How Spelling Supports Reading,” Louisa Moats, a literacy research and professional development expert, explains that “research has shown that learning to spell and learning to read rely on much of the same underlying knowledge—such as the relationships between letters and sounds—and, not surprisingly, that spelling instruction can be designed to help children better understand that key knowledge, resulting in better reading.”
Moats adds: “Research also bears out a strong relationship between spelling and writing: Writers who must think too hard about how to spell use up valuable cognitive resources needed for higher level aspects of composition. Even more than reading, writing is a mental juggling act that depends on automatic deployment of basic skills such as handwriting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation so that the writer can keep track of such concerns as topic, organization, word choice, and audience needs. Poor spellers may restrict what they write to words they can spell, with inevitable loss of verbal power.”

Friday, August 31, 2012

[MLE] Book on "Heritage Language Playschools"

Dear multilingual education friends,

Using the mother tongue in the anganwadis or preschools is not only done in Orissa, but also in Malaysia. Dr Karla Smith wrote a book on it titled "Heritage Language Playschools for Indigenous Minorities".

The MTB-MLE website reports:
This book contains administrative and curriculum materials that can be used to establish and operate playschool programmes for indigenous communities. Carefully sequenced steps, covering pre-planning to evaluation, outline the process of setting up a local playschool with the aid of community involvement. The content covers pre-reading, pre-writing and readiness skills and provides an abundance of practical advice, forms and ideas based on sound educational theory.

Monday, August 20, 2012

RE: [MLE] Multilingual primers for more Anganwadi Centers in Orissa

Dear multilingual education friends,

There is more news on the new developments in Odisha / Orissa. Dharitri Patnaik of the Bernard van Leer Foundation wrote the below response to last week's message. To me the best news is that he reports that the demand is coming from the tribal communities themselves: The persistent campaign by tribals from the villages to the state capital has resulted in this directive. Demands for quality curriculum in tribal languages, recruitment of tribal men and women as teachers, centres in remote tribal hamlets and involvement of communities to monitor education are all part of the campaign.  This is confirmed by some of the newspaper links. It seems that the Odisha Adivashi Mancha (OAM) has been instrumental in this endeavour. DishaDiary reports:
The OAM is currently working on details of a strategy to make the new directive effective. "We will meet the Chief Secretary again to apprise him of our plans and concerns on the directive issued," says Mandal.  "Since the government has taken a right step on our long pending demand, we are ready to engage with it to give it a proper direction," he adds.
And The Hindu:
As per the suggestion of the OAM, tribal children should get educated in their tribal mother tongue at anganwadi kendras at pre-school level.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Fwd: [MLE]Multilingual primers for more Anganwadi Centers in Orissa

Dear multilingual education friends,

Good news from Orissa. Chief Secretary Sri Bijay Kumar Patnaik has directed OPEPA to develop bilingual primers in tribal dialects for children from Class-1 to Class-III and cover all the schools having 100% monolingual tribal students. He also  directed to OPEPA to customize the Anganwadi study guide (Arunimain) in tribal languages in the context of their culture. The stories, rhymes, dance performances, folk-lores of the tribe concerned will be reflected in this. 
In another development, nine new  tribal languages have been identified for inclusion in Multi  Lingual Education programme. These languages are Gutob, Ho, Gondi, Parja,Khaira, Didayita, Chhatisgarhi Odia, Binjhal (western Odisha) and Binjhal (for Bargarh region).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

[MLE] Report on Language in education in Nepal; with reference to MLE in India

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

The report "Language issues in Educational Policies and practices in Nepal: A critical review" draws an interesting conclusion. It builds a strong case that just doing MT for the first couple of years ("early exit") does not work. The 50 page report is published by Australian Aid.  A quote:
" ... children are not able to develop strong competence in their mother tongues until there are taught through L1 for the first 8 years as in Ethiopia. To promote quality education in Nepal, it is mandatory to promote teaching in children’s first language (be it Nepali or other local languages) for the first six years (at least) (ideally 8 years). The Ethiopian evidence shows that children learn English better when they have strong competence in their first language. "
Some other recommendations are:
  • Enough materials in local languages should be prepared before the implementation of the programme.
  • Community participation and involvement of other stakeholders should be ensured in all stages of the programme.
  • Eight-year long MTB-MLE provides a strong foundation for children’s learning and help them achieve better in all subjects including second and foreign language.
  • Decentralized decision-making process, with effective inspection and mentoring, helps for the effective implementation of the MTB-MLE. As Ethiopian case suggests there is no single uniform model of the programme in different states. It depends upon the need of the different regions.
  •  Teachers’ capacity in mother tongue teaching is one of the most important factors for making teaching and learning of MT effective

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

[MLE] Article: Multilingual Education in India: Myth and Reality

Dear Multilingual Education friends,


Samir Karmakar and Kinnari Pandya of the Azim Premji University, Bangalore published an article on Multilingual Education in India: Myth and Reality in which they plead to give more attention to the context:
Any approach towards MLE is bound to fail if the stated form of the policy lacks an understanding of what is being aspired by the population with reference to the Indian languages which is often being decided by various economical and historical factors. Therefore, understanding the linguistic culture in India becomes a must.
Very often the success and failure of a policy depends on the implicit, unofficial, unwritten, de facto aspect of what we call public opinion. Therefore, it becomes quintessential to understand the linguistic culture of the population to achieve the stated goals of the policy documents. This includes an in-depth investigation into the ideas, values, beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, myths, religious strictures, and all the cultural baggage that we bring to our dealings with language from our culture.
They argue that multilingual teaching should also be done in the higher grades:
This approach of gradual replacement of the non-dominant forms of linguistic communication by the dominant ones only widens the linguistic divide in India and will leave India as fertile ground for intolerance defeating the agenda of promoting cultural pluralism.


Since higher education is the avenue to institutional recognition and establishment, we should create opportunities of learning through the mother tongue unlike the various proposals of structural and gradual replacement of multilingualism by a monolingual world order.
A key quote is:
Success of MLE in India, then, primarily rests on mobilizing the public spheres rather than suggesting solutions only to the school teachers and government officials. More specifically, introducing MLE in India expects the involvement of parents in the dynamics of teaching-learning process.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

[MLE] Article in Guardian "Language exodus reshapes India's schools"

Dear MultiLingual Education friends,

The Guardian had last week an article on the role of English in the Indian education system. A few quotes:
"More and more across India, parents are forsaking educating their kids in their mother tongue in favour of English. Despite warnings from educationalists that a child's cognitive development is affected by early schooling in an unfamiliar language, there has been an exponential increase during the last decade in English-medium schools in the country.
The latest data compiled by the National University of Education, Planning and Administration (NUEPA) shows that the number of children studying in English-medium schools has increased by a staggering 274% between 2003 and 2011, to over 20 million students."


"When the standard of teaching in a regional language school is good, the difference becomes apparent. "In India, teaching of languages is generally very outdated, no matter which language," said Anita Rampal, professor of education at Delhi University. "But a study we did in Delhi showed that students who began learning in Hindi for the first five years in a school that taught language well showed the ability later to think independently and write creatively in both Hindi and English.""

"Cultural theorist Rita Kothari pointed out that English and regional languages contain different "storehouses of knowledge", both of which are essential for a student. English provides a wealth of modern ideas and historical understanding. "But without regional languages, the richness of the landscape will get flattened," she said."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

[MLE] ASER education report 2011 for the first time includes language data


Dear Multilingual Education friends,
ASER does each year an independent assessment of the status of primary education in the country. ASER 2011 reached 558 districts, 16,017 villages, 327,372 households and 633,465 children. This year I somehow missed reporting on it in January. Here is a key finding you might find interesting:
Nationally, reading levels are estimated to have declined in many states across North India. The All India figure for the proportion of children in Std V able to read a Std 2 level text has dropped from 53.7% in 2010 to 48.2% in 2011. Such declines are not visible in the southern states.
However for this mailing list the most interesting thing is that this year for the first time the survey included a question on language:. The instructions read: “ Ask the child or any adult in the household which language is spoken at home, by the family members” (Full instructions copied below.) The summary of the result is:
A quarter of all rural children attend primary schools where the medium of instruction is different from their home language
I looked at the data per state. Some interesting figures:

STATE Home Language is Different From School Language (%)
Nagaland 100%
Chhattisgarh 99%
Manipur 98%
Arunachal Pradesh 96%
Jammu & Kashmir 95%
Himachal Pradesh 89%
Rajasthan 77%
Uttarkhand 67%
Jharkhand 61%
Bihar 53%
(The full table is given below)

Friday, April 6, 2012

[MLE] Report on the MLE bridging workshop at Bangkok

Dear MLE friends,

Out of the 80 participants from 20 countries 4 people from India attended the Workshop on Bridging Between Languages in Mother Tongue-Based Bilingual/Multilingual Education in Bangkok last month.

The India participants were from Guwahati University (Dr Anita Tamuli & Prafulla Basumatari), Promotion & Advocacy for Justice, Harmony & Rights for Adivasis, PAJHRA (Luke Horo) and Center for Tribal Culture and Art Society (Ft Mahipal Bhuriya).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

[MLE] NCERT Evaluation Report on MLE Project Orissa


Dear Multilingual Education Friends,
The evaluation report by NCERT's Department of Elementary Education on the Orissa MultiLingual Education projects under SSA/OPEPA is now available on-line at the TCF-SSA website. These are some highlights from the summary:
  • Overall, results suggested that children in MLE schools (treatment group) received significantly higher achievement scores than children in non-MLE schools (comparison group). However, scores for several Tribal languages showed that students of non-MLE schools did as well or even slightly better than students of MLE schools.
  • Other positive impacts noted by the stakeholders included: increased self-respect and self-confidence among children; increased interest in school; increased participation in learning; and increased use of the tribal languages. There were also perceived changes in enrolment, better retention rates, and lower drop-out rates in Multilingual Education programme schools due to the programme intervention; however, there were some variations according to tribal language.
  • The positive unintended outcomes of the program identified included improved relationships among teachers and among students and increased motivation and eagerness among students.
  • Unintended negative outcomes identified included increased drop-out rates for children from other castes, reduced participation of disabled children and a preference for the Oriya language over the mother-tongue.
  • A systematic method of monitoring of schools needs to be developed. The monitoring and supervision needs to be an ongoing process from State/District/Block and Cluster Resource Centres.

Friday, March 23, 2012

[MLE] Article "Linguistic imperialism alive and kicking"

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

The British Council, as well as some US agencies,  are active in south Asia and other places promoting the use of the English language in the classroom. A recent article by Robert Phillipson in The Guardian titled "Linguistic imperialism alive and kicking"  is criticising this as "undermining multilingualism and education opportunities". Some quotes:

The myth is the belief that studying English is all you need for success in life. Policies influenced by this myth prevent most children from accessing relevant education.

Is Anglo-American expertise really relevant in all such contexts? In fact educational "aid" worldwide does not have a strong record of success. There is scholarly evidence, for instance from Spain, that primary English is not an unmitigated success story: quite the opposite.

Governments have tended to clutch at a quick fix, such as importing native speakers, or starting English ever earlier, either as a subject or as the medium of instruction, in the hope that this will make the learning of English more effective. Such demands should be challenged by ELT when both the demand and the response are unlikely to be educationally, culturally or linguistically well-informed.

As many states in India are pushing for English,  this is a very relevant debate.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

[MLE] A critical report on the RTE progress

Dear MLE friends,

In April it will be two years since the the Right to Education (RTE) Act was introduced. Forward Press Magazine published a critical article on the progress made thus far:  A Fundamental Wrong: Education for too Few.

The author, Suzana Andrade, makes an interesting comparison with Finland were they also implemented a major education transform several years back: "In 1971, Finland's government realised that the only way to modernise its economy and compete in an increased competitive world was to transform its basic education. According to a recent article in The Atlantic magazine, the secret to Finland's success is that the goal they pursued was not excellence, but equity". On India: "Today, though the policies and rhetoric have changed, the underlying worldview remains: our society continues to prioritise a few and exclude the rest".

Friday, March 2, 2012

[MLE] A thorough paper on the MLE program in Orissa/Odisha

Dear MLE friends,

I don't think I have ever come across such an extensive analyses of the MLE programme in Orissa as the one from Dr Urmishree Bedamatta presented at the 2nd Philippine Conference Workshop on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education  held February 16-18, 2012 titled:


The author does base her analyses on field visits, interviews and a wide range of literature study. Her analyses is critical. The abstract states:
The analysis of the MLE programme with reference to classroom transaction, the teacher and the teaching learning materials led to the following conclusions: (a) the use of the mother tongue is a strategy to improve statistics on access with little concern for retention, (b) the use of the mother tongue does not guarantee the use of local cultural knowledge for academic learning, (c) local cultural knowledge is transformed to assimilate with knowledge legitimised in the curriculum, and, (d) the role of the teacher as an agent of change is ignored: the ‘MLE teacher’ is a means to cope with teacher shortage in the tribal areas. The mother tongue in the MLE programme thus faces the threat of being an instrument ‘in the service of an institutional cause’.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

[MLE] Article on the value of language from the new UNESCO India director

Dear multilingual education friends,

Last week I had the privilege to meet the new UNESCO director for this region at their Delhi office: Mr Shigeru Aoyagi. Only now I discovered he had just that week written an article on the issue of language: Languages are vehicles of understanding, tolerance. In that article he e.g. wrote:
Mother languages, along with linguistic diversity, matter for the identity of individuals. As sources of creativity and vehicles for cultural expression, they are also important for the health of societies. Studies and researches show that use of mother language at initial stage of education would enhance children’s comprehension skills. We know how important education in the mother language is for learning outcomes. Mother language instruction is also a powerful way to fight discrimination and reach out to marginalised populations.

Good to note we have now such a strong language advocate in the Delhi UNESCO office together with Dr Alisher Umarov, the new head of the UNESCO Education Department.

The International Day of Language did last week produce some more interesting reading:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

[MLE] International Mother Language day


Congratulations with International Mother Language day!



Dear multilingual education friends,
Yesterday was International Mother Language Day. A good reason for giving extra attention to the use of the mother tongue. Here are some relevant links to events and resources:
Here is a link to the history of the International Mother Language day

Monday, January 16, 2012

[MLE] People’s Linguistic Survey of India Conference

Dear multilingual education friends,

Earlier this months the People's Linguistic Survey of India  (PLSI) conference took place. 900 delegates from all over the world gathered in Baroda to celebrate the progress on survey.

A quote from the Lit-Ityadi report
Anyone familiar with George Grierson's historic work, the Linguistic Survey of India, compiled nearly 100 years ago, will immediately note the similarities. What is different however, about the PLSI, is the notion of networking, now made by possible by modern methods of communication, that enables adivasi people from Orissa to dance shoulder to shoulder with Bhili tribesmen from Gujarat. This sense of solidarity was felt, not only between the Indian delegates, but also internationally as we heard from indigenous people from Papua New Guinea and various parts of Africa.
A quote from the Times of India report
This is a survey of languages by persons belonging to the language community. We have used a 'minimum format' for the non-scheduled languages. It includes features like name, location and local history of the languages; some samples of songs and stories, kinship terms and nominal grammar. For the scheduled languages the entries are very elaborate - almost a book length for every language. The 12 volumes that are ready run into about 6,000 pages. The completed work in 42 volumes will have about 20,000 printed pages. The work is done with the help of a large team of nearly 1,800 persons and a large multi-disciplinary National Editorial Collective of scholars.
The Daily News Analyses report gave their article a positive heading: "Tribal Languages are not dying":
If you thought that the number of people speaking the languages used by tribes, nomads and de-notified tribes of India was falling with every generation, then you are in for a surprise. A survey of People's Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) conducted by tribal activist and linguist, Dr Ganesh Devy, reveals that the number of languages considered weak had fallen. This indicates that the so-called 'weak languages' had actually a large number of speakers.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

[MLE] Book from Prime Minister of Singapore on bilingualism

Dear MLE friends,

It is not often that top politicians write elaborately about issues related to multilingualism. Lee Kuan Yew the former prime minister of Singapore published recently "My lifelong challenge: Singapore's bilingual journey". He has been strong advocate of maintaining Chinese and other mother tongues within the schools in Singapore while still making English the mainstream language.


Some quotes from a Asia One newspaper review:
My Lifelong Challenge is the story of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's 50-year struggle to transform Singapore from a polyglot former British colony into a united nation where everyone, while knowing English, knows at least one other language, his own mother tongue. The founding prime minister of Singapore tells why he did away with vernacular schools in spite of violent political resistance, why he closed Nanyang University, why he later started Special Assistance Plan schools, and why he continues to urge all ethnic Chinese Singaporeans today to learn the Chinese language.
Mr Patrick Daniel, Editor-in-Chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English and Malay Newspapers Division, said: "This book recounts an important facet of Singapore's history. It contains insights, borne of experience, about the challenge of ensuring that each community preserves its own language and culture in a multiracial nation, while adopting English as the working language. It comes at an opportune moment too, as the world sees its centre of gravity shifting from West to East. I am glad that The Straits Times has had a part in bringing out this book."

In Singapore, former senior minister of state for community development Ch'ng Jit Koon said: "To this day, some people do not approve of the bilingual policy as a foundation stone of the nation. This book describes fully, accurately and clearly the background to these policies, helping us to understand why he did what he did. Whether the bilingual policy is right or wrong, history will be the judge. But if he had not done what he did, our country would not be what it is today."

[MLE] The blog is celebrating its first birthday!


Dear multilingual education friends,
The MLE India webblog is celebrating its first birthday! A good excuse for giving it a easier URL www.mle-india.net and a facelift: have look at the new lay-out.
The site is more than just a list of the postings on the MLE mailing list. It also has the following pages:

      • MLE Related Projects: An overview of multilingual education related projects in India

      • MLE Related Books : An overview of written resources related to multilingual education with relevance to India

      • MLE Related Policies: Relevant sections from the Indian constitution, the National Curriculum Framework and the Right to Education Act.

      • MLE related Courses & Events : Courses and workshops offered in this region on multilingual education