Why mother tongue education should become a norm

For over 70 years the research has shown that mother tongue education, especially in the all important early years, acts as a tool to involve family and engage the child, so that they can learn to learn. The evidence from around the world is resounding , educational, life and societal outcomes are improved as a result.

Put yourself in the place of a child

Just imagine it’s your first day at school and the teachers speak an unfamiliar language and learning materials are in a foreign language. Just imagine how difficult it would be to stay motivated and keep up. Would this seem fair to you? Does this represent equality of opportunity to you?

Clearly, not. And yet, this is reality for children in every corner of the world.

Worldwide there are some 6500 languages. While the UN has encouraged mother tongue education since the 1950s, implementation is rare. The result is lost opportunities, wasted talent, marginalisation, exploitation, ignorance, as well as massive and growing inequality.

The result is a systematic human rights failure. Generations of people grow up failed by their education systems from day one.

A failure of pandemic proportions, hundreds of millions of children cheated daily. Going back generations and likely to continue unabated.

Review roadmap document

This strategy document, prepared in partnership with the Rutu Foundation, is a roadmap for making mother tongue education a norm.

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