[MLE] UNICEF report on Early Literacy and Multilingual Education in South Asia

Final Report “Early Literacy and Multilingual Education in South Asia” 

A few months ago UNICEF published the final report on their research on Early Literacy and Multilingual Education in South Asia. The study is based on literature review on early literacy and multilingual education, surveys of students’ literacy achievements in primary grades, analysis of sociolinguistic situations, and policy and programme documents. That 100 page report is worth noting!

The report “Early Literacy and Multilingual Education in South Asia“ analyses the varying language situations in South Asia and the existing policies and practices of using languages as medium of instruction and as subjects in primary education curriculum. The study outcomes affirm earlier research that indicates that when children study through their first language (home language or mother tongue) for several years, they are likely to perform better at learning additional languages and other subjects, compared to the children who study through a second or unfamiliar language as the medium of instruction. The report calls for government leadership as well as involvement of partner agencies, international and national organizations and private sector to promote early literacy and multilingual education to ensure inclusive and equitable learning for all.

There is a helpful section with recommendations on topics like:
  • Basic guiding principles for all stakeholders: Focus on the child and her learning
  • Other influences on language use in education 
  • Three-pronged action: Many agents of change 
  • Creating an environment for initiating change 
  • Policy initiatives to begin with 
  • Comprehensive policy for multilingual education 
  • Suggestions for MLE programme design 
  • Agenda for change: Dimensions of action 
  • Priority areas of action by government agencies

The report can be downloaded from the UNICEF ROSA website here.

Happy reading!