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Highlights of the newly launched National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stages

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The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for foundational stage education was released by the Union minister for education last month. The good news for Multilingual Education is that the NCF highly recommends the use of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction in the primary and the pre-primary grades for both public and private schools: “The home language serves as a facilitator for all learning and enables children to form connections with prior learning and home learning.” (P 74). The NCFs are detailed guidelines based on which school syllabi undergo revisions. The first NCF, in 1975, called the mother tongue the child’s “most natural medium of communication.”  The NCF 2000 promoted the use of the mother tongue not just in primary school but beyond, throughout one’s education. NCF 2005 said that Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) would “normally be in the child’s ‘first’ language, or home language” should be used for education. Now finally we have reached the point wher

World Sign Language Day - A call for recognition

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Good to note that there is an International Day of Sign Languages! Sign languages are vital for the large deaf communities in the country and need recognition. Even last week I was in a meeting where I again heard about tens of thousands of deaf children who grow up without language as nobody teaches them how to sign. Recognition of this problem is very much needed and so is literacy for the deaf. On World Sign Language day on the 23th of September, Hindustan Times reported that disability rights activists and members of the Deaf Association in Pune spoke about the fact that students who are hearing impaired often have limited study options. This meeting focused particularly on the opportunities for higher studies as many universities do not offer courses in sign language.  However, as shown in his beautiful Oscar-winning short film, The Silent Child : many deaf children around the globe, even at the primary level, are excluded from education. Definition There are many misconceptions

India’s first ever Language Mapping of Schools Survey!

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The Language  and Learning Foundation has conducted India's first-ever language mapping of schools survey in Chhattisgarh: Language Mapping of Schools in Chhattisgarh .  The survey was carried out under the NIPUN Bharat initiative  in collaboration with the Government of Chhattisgarh and UNICEF India. The report  maps the different language situations that are present in each school with the aim to design an effective education strategy and policy. Through this research almost 30,000 schools were surveyed. The focus was on the first grade and the information gathered was mainly through the teachers. The following conclusion was stated in the summary of the report: The survey shows that in about 75% of the schools students are likely to face moderate to severe learning disadvantage due to the difference between their home language and the school language used as the medium of instruction. It also shows that about 95% of students at the time of entry to the primary schools speak a h

Multilingual Education Course, November 7-18, 2022 Guwahati, Assam

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During this 10-day, face-to-face course ,  participants will be introduced to foundational concepts in MLE.  They will then survey a number of practical techniques for developing language-sensitive learning materials.  Finally, there will be a brief exposure to teaching methods which leverage the learner's home language in the classroom. You can find the announcement also on this tweet , and this LinkedIn announcement .  2022 November 7-18, 2022, Guwahati, Assam Links : Register for updates &  Application By the end of this course the participants will be able to: Explain key principles relating to the aims, goals and implementation of strong MTB-MLE programs. Explain key theories relating to teaching and learning in MLE programs Connect theoretical concepts with relevant national/state curriculum competencies Describe how teaching materials support literacy development in L1 and L2 Understand the process of creating early teaching materials in the L1 Describe effective strate

What have the two years of NEP meant for Multilingual Education in India?

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The National Education Policy (NEP) completed two years last month. This is a good reason to ask what the NEP 2020 has meant for multilingual education in India. There has been significant talk about introducing or strengthening  Multilingual Education in various state-level primary schools, but has there been action? The NEP 2020  has brought multilingual education higher on the agenda in India.  As an indicator, I did a quick research in Google and compared the Google hits in the  two years after NEP(2020-22) and two years prior(2018-20). I got 6500 hits since June 2020 when I searched for "Multilingual education" in India, while the two years before that had less than half of that.  The extra attention has caused a wider group of people to be thinking of the issues related to multilingual education. The home minister, for example, recently stated that, when we do not use Indian languages to teach, we are not able to utilise the full potential of the country. He also stress

MLE+: Schools Embracing Local Culture and Language (BBC)

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  Creating a school environment that helps the children to love their local languages and cultures seems rather idealistic. The BBC recently published a video clip of a school in Africa that does just that: celebrating the children’s culture in the school . As also in Africa, teaching is based on a post-colonial curriculum, that is rather unique. This is worth taking note of! To begin with, the Freedom School in Kenya promotes love and acceptance of their own culture by encouraging children to speak their mother tongue. The BBC documentary Afrocentrism: The school teaching kids to love their African culture  shows a school culture and curriculum that is Africa centred through which the children are growing to love who they are. The children are provided with mentorship and with plenty of encouragement to embrace their own heritage. This has also resulted in an increasing use of mother tongue names. 

Jharkhand Tribal languages to be used as medium of Instruction

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When I read the news that “Tribal children in Jharkhand get lessons in their own language”, I checked back with my friend Binay Pattanayak (Senior Education Consultant at the World Bank). I was pleased to note that he confirmed that there are indeed things moving there! There has been a push for tribal schools in Jharkhand to use the local languages since 2015. The development of textbooks in 5 tribal languages (Santhali, Mundari, Ho, Kuruh and Kharia) and 2 regional languages (Bangla and Odia) that were published back in 2016 was a step in that direction. In accordance with the NEP, Jharkhand education department now says that children are to be instructed in their mother tongue till the 3rd standard. 

New Books on Multilingualism, Education and Inequality

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  In nearly every conversation I have had over the years with Prof Rama Kant Agnihotri, somehow we would talk about the concept of the fluidity of languages. No wonder that he is the co-author of a book on multilingualism. He also recently co-published a book on education and inequality with a solid section on the issue of language. Two books worth noting!

Collaboration between two resources: Storyweaver and Bloom Library

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At the recent International Mother Tongue Language Day, the use of technology was emphasised. Bloom Library and Storyweaver are two pieces of simple software which come to the rescue of educators, parents, and students who want to create books in their own language. It is good to note that, rather than competing with each other, they complement each other and host each other's books and resources on their websites. As many of you are already aware, there are two very useful online book-creation tools that are making enjoyable reading material available for children in many different languages. They are Storyweaver  from Pratham Books and Bloom Library   by SIL International. Both of these online libraries not only offer books in many languages but also allow one to create one’s own books and download them for future use. They also have a variety of  image libraries which can be used by someone creating a resource. 

Happy International Mother Language Day! -Studies in Assam & Webinar

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Happy International Mother Language Day! -Studies in Assam & Webinar Today, as I was running some errands, I noticed a lot of action on the roadside. As someone was talking passionately through a microphone I assumed it was a political rally. But then I heard one phrase coming back again and again: "Matri Bhasha". Of course, I thought, today is International Mother Language Day! That gives me a  good excuse to highlight a new initiative in Assam. It is also a good reason to recommend a webinar multilingual education later today. February 21 is the International Mother Language Day. The day is to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism around the world. The theme of the year 2022 is “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities”.

NCERT Video lesson for teachers on multilingual education in primary grades

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  The NCERT/LLF  video lesson is making the concepts very clear for teachers There is quite a bit of material on the Internet about multilingual education aimed at an academic audience. This week I watched the newly published video lesson  hosted by NCERT aimed at primary school teachers. Dhir Jingran, together with other LLF staff are the resource persons and are making multilingual education very practical. I love the participatory way the lesson is designed: there are interactions, video fragments, brief explanations, helpful graphics and ways for the audience to ask questions: worth watching!