Effective Education Through Community Based Language and Development Programs

By

Zenith Mousumy Sarker, Mridul Sangma and Kuri Chisim

(Presented at the 1st MLE Conference, “Reclaiming the Right to Learn in One’s Own Language,” Capitol University, Cagayan de Oro City, Feb 18-20, 2010.)

ABSTRACT:  In community-based language and development programs, a primary objective is local participation in decision-making and implementation. Programs supported by SIL Bangladesh are designed to build capacity for planning, developing and sustaining local ownership as communities work together to define and address their own language and development goals without sacrificing their languages and cultural identity.

SIL works in partnership with 12 ethnolinguistic groups in Bangladesh. Mahle, one of these groups, are increasingly becoming independent, identifying their problems, finding solutions and taking initiatives to address education and development challenges. After developing awareness of the issues impacting their community, a Mahle “Language and Development Committee” was formed. This has become the primary decision-making group for language and development in their community and is taking the lead in the development of a strong mother-tongue based MLE (MTB- MLE) programme.

One of the targets of development is to improve access to appropriate education. SIL aims to assist the Mahle in achievement of “Education for All” through implementation of a MTB-MLE program where Mahle children benefit from improved education beginning in their mother tongue. Stakeholders’ opinions are honored and capacity is built in community members, who are involved in every stage of MTB-MLE program development.

This paper will describe how such a committee provides support for strong MLE programs and benefits both young children and the Mahle people. This paper will also illustrate how community members and local NGO’s can cooperate with national and international organizations to implement a strong community development program.

For the complete article, click on Effective education through Community based Language and Development Programs.

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