Wednesday, March 24, 2010

[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 issued by the UK charity Save the Children and the Centre for British Teachers (CfBT), the international not-for-profit education consultancy, in a joint report published last month.
The report, called Language and Education: the Missing Link, claims that failure to provide schooling in the language that children are most familiar with—the one that they speak at home—is a root cause of education failure, leading to children dropping out of school early and resources being wasted because rates of attainment are slowed. 

The report also calls for policy makers to heed the growing body of research supporting MLE, and urges donor agencies to make MLE a priority in their funding projects.

The article you can find at The original report at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

[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:


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 years and raises awareness of the value of maintaining the world's languages and cultures by promoting and resourcing mother tongue-based education for young children.

Full Text:
[PDF format, 91 pages].

Saturday, February 20, 2010

[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.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

[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 their early years learn best when taught in their home language, with other languages gradually introduced. But parents and children often rightly see learning in an official national language as a key to future employment and enhanced life chances. Many countries are seeking to find the right balance though bilingual education programmes.
Linguistic diversity creates challenges, however, in areas such as teacher recruitment, curriculum development and teaching materials, and providing policies for bilingual education are often not fully implemented. In Peru, only around 10% of indigenous children attend intercultural bilingual schools."

You can download the full report or summary from here:

Friday, February 12, 2010

[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!

Friday, February 5, 2010

[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!