Monday, 20 November 2017

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Language matters

International Mother Language Day - UNESCO

21 February 2015 - Today we celebrate International Mother Language Day in recognition of the fundamental role that language plays in enabling learners to benefit from quality education, learn throughout life, and have access to information.

This day represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh. It was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 (30C/62).

More than 50 per cent of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world are likely to die out within a few generations, and 96 per cent of these languages are spoken by a mere 4 per cent of the world's population. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given pride of place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.

“International Mother Language Day is a moment for all of us to raise the flag for the importance of mother tongue to all educational efforts, to enhance the quality of learning and to reach the unreached. Every girl and boy, every woman and man must have the tools to participate fully in the lives of their societies” the UNESCO Director-General stated.

Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

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