Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Thursday, September 28, 2017
|Expert panel in debate. Photo by Natalie Lovenburg|
While visiting government officials I have often come across the assumption that multilingual education would foster separation movements and therefore violence. Recently a panel called "Linguistic tolerance as a tool for resiliency in multilingual societies against violence and radicalization" addressed this issue. As this is also relevant for India I post the reference here.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Monday, March 20, 2017
We are often asked for research evidence with regards to the impact of MLE. Even though the below write up is not on a project in India, it seems to have enough similarity to make it relevant to take note of. The Endline survey of the pilot is showing that MLE children do better in particularly reading.
|International Mother Language Day 2017 (Image source- en.unesco.org)|
In the week of the International Mother Language Day there are usually extra postings related to language and education. Particularly because this year the theme is: “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”. It is also a good excuse to list a few (new) resources.
The postings in the India Express and India Today are quite general in nature with some quotations from Unesco and background on the history of the day. WebIndia reports that activist used the day to demand linguistic parity for the regional languages. Chanpreet Kaur published an interview with Dr Mukti Sanyal on How the focus on English could be seriously damaging India's future with an interesting link to self-esteem: “We are losing our mother languages. And with it, we are losing self esteem, different ways of seeing the world, and encouraging the mugging up of the concepts”. Scroll.in used the opportunity to dig into history: Which 'mother language' did India's lawmakers want after Independence? A nice news item is that the goverment of Bengal gave Kurukh language an official status and a promise that Rajbangshi/Kamtapuri will also be given that status.
Saturday, January 28, 2017
|Copyright: Financial Express|
Earlier this month a panel of secretaries from the Group on Education and Social Development has recommended to make English a compulsory subject in all schools beginning from class VI, and to start at least one English-medium school in each of the 6,612 blocks in the country.This news was reported in the Indian Express and the Financial Express a couple of weeks ago. I had hoped by now a few more details would have come out, as the panel aims for its implementation by this April. However the newspapers remain silent about it.
The panel claims that this recommendation is in line with the three language formula by that it still allows the medium of instruction be the mother tongue, while English will have to be added as either number two or three. The advise goes against the RSS recommendation of last October that suggested that "the medium of instruction from elementary to higher levels in schools should be the mother tongue and English should not be compulsory at any level."
These same discussions are very common in the field. I e.g. recall an NGO working in Maharashtra that taught the children in their tribal language, but added English , rather than Hindi, from the start to keep the parents motivated to send their children to school. Pedagogically not the most sound method, but it definitely boosted the parents participations!
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
5th International Conference on Language and Education will start tomorrow
The 5th International Conference on Language and Education will take stock of recent developments in MLE policies and practices in the Asia-Pacific region, with a special focus on multilingual education in early childhood and primary education.There will be several presentations relevant to India.
The conference will start tomorrow with opening speeches from UNESCO and the Thai government. The Keynote address will be on "Supporting MTBMLE to achieve sustainable development for all: what have we learned about successful programs?" by Dr Susan Malone (SIL International). Some of the India related presentations are:
- Prarthana Kumari (Nirantar, India) and Anita Singh (Nirantar, India), Breaking language barriers in India
- Sivagami Sivasubbu (Aide et Action International, India), Experiences of Aide et Action imparting MLE through teacher training in India
- Dwiti Vikramaditya (Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), India) and Kadey Soren (Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), India), India transition curriculum: a smooth transition of indigenous children from preschool to primary school, an initiative by Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Odisha, India.
- Arpita Panda (English and Foreign Languages University, India), "Translanguaging": a pedagogical tool to improve reading comprehension of learners in a multilingual setting in Odisha, India
- Valerie Haugen (VoxPacis International Development) and Dhir Jhingran (Language and Learning Foundation, India), An analytical framework to inform strategic and programmatic decisions around language in education: cases from India, Lao PDR, and Papua New Guinea
- Binay Pattanayak (UNICEF India), Some steps towards MTB-MLE in Jharkhand, India
- Boneti Simhabaludu (World Vision, India), Collaborating: a key component to transform early childhood and primary education in India and a step towards achieving SDG-4
- Uma Maheshwari Chimirala (English and Foreign Languages University, India), Looking through the teachers' "other languages" use/preference: a study of the monolingual mindset in MLE classrooms in Andhra Pradesh, India
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Symposium: Language and language differences tend to get taken for granted by planners
The Study Group on Language and the United Nations, an independent group of scholars and practitioners on matters related to language, convened a symposium on Language and the Sustainable Development Goals in New York, on 21 and 22 April 2016. Its goal was to examine the importance of issues of language in the formulation, implementation, and successful completion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Friday, April 8, 2016
It is fun to note when a good friend publishes on multilingual education in India. Dr Cynthia Groff has visited India many times and did her PhD research on the language and education situation among the Kumauni people in Uttarakhand.
The full tittle of the paper is "Language and language-in-education planning in multilingual India: A linguistic minority perspective." and is based on Nancy Hornberger's language policy and planning seminar. The abstract states: "This article explores India's linguistic diversity from a language policy perspective, emphasizing policies relevant to linguistic minorities". Here are the details:
- Groff, C. (2016). Language and language-in-education planning in multilingual India: A linguistic minority perspective. Language Policy, in press.
Available through 'online first', open access:
"The Language and Development Conference run by the British Council and held recently in Delhi had a number of very interesting presentations. While I could not attend the conference itself, many of the presentations are very helpfully on You Tube. These can be found under Plenary and Featured speakers here
There were several presentations focusing on Africa, such as one by Birgit Brock-Utne on the political confusion in the use of language in education, and others focussing on Asian countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which may have some relevance to India, but here are a few highlights relating specifically to India:
- Rukmini Banerjee (Pratham) looking at how language affects learning and comes up with several strategies to help teachers become more productive teachers in multilingual classrooms starting with what children do and know.
- Giridhar Rao on the lack of learning that goes on in English Medium schools and that they offer a false promise.
- It is great to see D P Pattanayak on a panel with Minati Panda and Giridhar Roa, and with Ajit Mohanty chairing the session."
Thursday, February 4, 2016
5th International Conference on Language and Education
The International Conferences on Language and Education, which have been organized by a large group of agencies in Asia, have over the years impacted many projects in India. The 5th one will be held this year, again in Bangkok. The following announcement has been copied from the UNESCO MLE Newsletter
Asia Pacific Multilingual Education Working Group (MLE WG) will be organizing its 5th International Conference on Language and Education on 19-21 October 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The 5th International Conference on Language and Education will take stock of recent developments in MLE policies and practices in the Asia-Pacific region, with a special focus on multilingual education in early childhood and primary education.
It will likewise look at innovative pedagogies in the training of MLE teachers. Finally, it will examine challenges and lesson learned from the EFA experience and give opportunities for forward-looking discussions on both the role of language in achieving the new SDGs and preserving a harmonious relationship between the global and local contexts.
The conference features four thematic tracks.
- Track 1: Towards Sound Policies on Multilingual Education: Language and Language-in-Education Policy and Planning in Asia and the Pacific.
- Track 2: MLE Teachers and Teacher Training for MLE
- Track 3: MLE Practice/Praxis in Early Childhood and Primary Education
- Track 4: Language and Cross-Cutting Issues of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
The Call for Papers is now open and the deadline for submission is 30 March 2016.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
Every year after Feb 21st, the International Mother Language Day, it is fun to surf the internet to see what is done in India to celebrate the languages that the children speak at home.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has send a notice to the English medium schools affiliated with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to mark the occasion with celebrations and contests. The notice reads:
"It has been decided to celebrate Matribhasha Diwas to promote the use and to sensitize people about the need of greater use of mother tongue and other Indian languages for progress of the nation, to impart communication skills and proficiency in mother tongue and other Indian languages amongst English-medium students, to support translations from other languages into mother tongue, to give fillip to popularize adaptation of latest technologies for Indian languages and to encourage people to learn one more Indian language."
However given the late date this was send and the fact that it coincided with exam dates the Times of India reports that it is not likely that many schools will have done anything with the notice.
The Indian blogger Sucharita Sen writes:
"While UN takes its own initiatives to bring about language awareness and tolerance, can we not come together to celebrate our own mother tongue, India being such a rich and diversified sub-continent?"
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The project managers of the Toto mother tongue based multilingual education project in West Bengal have become very creative in their fund raising. Instead of looking for big donors, they are collecting funds via crowd-sourcing. Look at their promotional website and video to learn how they do that.
Besides that, the approach the project is taking is also of interest. Lissa Davies writes "... We have been using Karla's heritage playschool book as our template curriculum. We have since, developed our own curriculum and TLMs, which we are thinking of putting into a publishable document, given that there must be other communities out there, especially in India, whereby they face the same problems we have faced. "
Friday, April 19, 2013
Below is the invitation and abstract submission call for 4th International Conference on Language and Education which is held from 6 to 8 Nov, 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand. This conference is hosted by 14 national and international organization this year such as UNESCO, UNICEF, Room to Read, SIL International, etc.
Notice that submission deadline of participant’s abstract is by the end of this month and registration deadline is by the end of Aug. (See message from UNESCO below, which includes a list of speakers)
Please visit the conference website for detailed information. It will be good to have a good representation from India there!
Monday, April 15, 2013
Please don’t forget to give credit to the photographer and GPE (Global Partnership for Education) and enjoy watching the photos.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
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"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.
"'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.'"
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
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".