Int'l Mother Language Day 2/21 (Re: UNESCO urges teaching ...)

Don Osborn dzo at BISHARAT.NET
Fri Feb 20 19:41:16 UTC 2004

This release is evidently times to coincide with International Mother
Language Day (Feb. 21).  For more info, see: (a nice page, but one wishes that
it had been publicized earlier!).   DZO

----- Original Message -----
From: "phil cash cash" <cashcash at EMAIL.ARIZONA.EDU>
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 4:30 PM
Subject: UNESCO urges teaching from earliest age in indigenous mother
languages (fwd)

UNESCO urges teaching from earliest age in indigenous mother languages

20 February 2004 - With an average of two indigenous languages dying out
every month, the United Nations cultural agency has called for national
education systems to teach children in mother tongues from the earliest age
as a means both of stimulating learning ability and preserving the world's
rich heritage of linguistic diversity.

"It is widely acknowledged nowadays that teaching in both the mother tongue
and the official national language helps children to obtain better results
and stimulates their cognitive development and capacity to learn," the
Director-General of the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) Koïchiro Matsuura, said in a message for International Mother
Language Day, which is celebrated on 21 February.

UNESCO's General Conference 1999 proclaimed the Day in recognition of the
importance of the worldÂ~Rs linguistic diversity and to promote mother tongue
languages. But a survey being undertaken by the agency indicates that
although the use of mother languages as a medium of instruction is gaining
ground, few countries have incorporated the idea into their education

The study shows that India is one of the world leaders in the development of
multilingual education systems, with about 80 languages being used to teach
children at different levels of schooling. But across Africa, where an
estimated 2,011 languages are spoken, the languages of the former colonial
powers - English, French, Spanish and Portuguese - still dominate education
systems. A similar situation prevails in Latin America.

According to the "Atlas of the World Languages in Danger of Disappearing"
there are more than 6,000 languages spoken in the world today. Ninety five
percent of these languages are spoken by only four percent of the
population, and an average of two die out each month.

More information about the Ilat mailing list