Each year the 21st of February is set aside to celebrate the diversity of languages spoken in homes, marketplaces and communities, not only in Asia but in every part of the world. Each of the 2300 languages in Asia is part of a unique cultural identity but less than 100 are used in education systems. Today is a day set aside to remember the importance of language and cultural diversity, to encourage us in our work towards creating societies that is more inclusive and accessible for those whose mother language is seen as less important.
Books for Mother Tongue Education
Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Irina Bokova encouraged us all to remember the important role books have in education and development. “We must do more to distribute materials and books as widely and fairly as possible, so that all people – children above all – can read in the language of their choice, including in their mother tongue. This can also boost progress towards the Education for All goals by 2015. Translation is an important part of this great project, by creating bridges to new readers.”
Ms Bokova’s message for IMLD 2013 reminds us all that we should not take for granted the endless number of books that we have access to as English speakers. This is an encouragement to work harder towards the goal of strengthening ethnolinguistic communities through language development, education development and community development in their own Mother Tongue.