UNESCO backs Multilingual Education Resource Center to boost learning in ethnically diverse Nepal
The home language is linked to fostering knowledge, skills and attitudes among children, as well as contributing to classroom success and higher learning achievement.
Multilingual Education (MLE) facilitates learning in a familiar language and equips students with the national language skills they need to transit to secondary and higher education and eventually, to employment and active participation in social and political life. Evidence from several countries demonstrates that MLE improves learning achievement.
With over 101 languages spoken in Nepal, the country is home to a great diversity of languages. This diversity is an opportunity as well as a challenge to provide quality learning to children with varied languages.
The World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal in 2000 upheld this view with regard to universal primary education in Education for All (EFA) Goal 2 “Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete, free and compulsory primary education of good quality.”
In order to achieve this goal and make education equitable and accessible to children with different linguistic backgrounds, there is an enormous benefit in developing a Multilingual Education (MLE) Resource Centre that provides the opportunity to access, learn and use one’s language at home, in school, and on information networks, such as the Internet.
The Research Centre for Educational Innovation and Development (CERID), Tribhuvan University, with the support of UNESCO and the Ministry of Education, has established an MLE Resource Centre. In its initial phase the Resource Centre intends to:
· Develop the MLE Resource Centre at CERID, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur;
· Develop a MLE bibliography;
· Collect MLE-related materials and set up an MLE library;
· Publish an MLE newsletter;
· Translate and adapt the Advocacy Kit for Promoting Multilingual Education: Including the Excluded into the Avadhi language;
· Form an MLE advisory committee; and
· Mobilize support from the Ministry of Education and assist in developing satellite MLE Resource Centers elsewhere.
Sitting in a primary classroom and learning in a language that children do not understand is a fast track to marginalization. Combating marginalization requires inclusive education for ethnic and linguistic minorities, enabling schools to offer a relevant curriculum and suitable text books in an appropriate language. The MLE Resource Centers provides support to schools in their efforts to boost learning for all on an equitable and institutional basis.
The MLE Website is accessible at: http://www.mlerc-cerid.org.np