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International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999.

In English: Peter Austin, Director of the Endangered Languages Academic Programme at SOAS talks about the Bangla-speaking students of the University of Dhaka who were protesting on 21 February 1952, against the then Government of Pakistan’s decision to promote Urdu as the sole national language. He also speaks about current review of bilingual education in Australia and the importance of Mother language education.

In Russian: Worldwide an estimated number of 6000 languages are spoken. About 60% to 80% of these languages are endangered, meaning that they might not be spoken in 100 years. Ensuring the preservation of languages can improve the quality of education, maintain cultural diversity and support nation building. In this clip, Elena Giniotyte talks about Archi, an endangered language in the Northeast Caucasus.

In Mandarin: Ensuring the preservation of languages can improve the quality of education, maintain cultural diversity and support nation building. In this clip, Lianhong Yo talks about the example of Singapore which shows how language policies that recognise and preserve important languages within a national territory can strengthen national cohesion and the building of a national identity.

In Arabic: Worldwide an estimated 6000 languages are spoken. About 60% to 80% of these languages are endangered, meaning that they might not be spoken in 100 years. Ensuring the preservation of languages can improve the quality of education, maintain cultural diversity and support nation and identity building. In this audio clip, Samah Bushra Yousef talks about the example of bilingual education in Burkina Faso and its positive impacts.

In Portuguese: Ensuring the preservation of languages can improve the quality of education, maintain cultural diversity and support nation-building. However, implementing an educational reform for bilingual education on a national scale can be challenging. Helena De Moraes Achcar talks about the example of Bolivia, where an educational reform encouraged intercultural bilingual education in the rural areas, while urban areas were not incorporated into the educational policy.