Build YOUR own mother tongue-based MLE

Without question, the most authoritative and comprehensive resource to guide any effort to build a mother tongue-based multilingual education (MLE) program is the following UNESCO document:


This document is subdivided into five sections:

  1. An overview of the kit;
  2. Language in education policy and practice in Asia and the Pacific;
  3. Policy makers booklet;
  4. Program implementers booklet; and
  5. Community members booklet.

Who can use the kit?

“This kit was prepared for all of those who want to ensure that “Education for All” does, indeed, include everyone! The kit will be especially valuable for policy makers, education practitioners and specialists who want to improve access to and quality of education for those excluded by language. It will also be helpful for speakers of ethnic minority languages who want to improve the education situation in their own communities.

This kit is designed to raise awareness on the importance of mother tongue-based
multilingual education (MLE). It presents key arguments and facts about MLE and provides important insights about the value and benefits of providing education in learners’ mother tongue. The kit also presents ideas, research findings and concrete examples that you can use to think about your own situation and suggests steps for taking actions to make your school system more responsive to linguistic diversity.”

The kit also provides a glossary of terms to establish a common ground for each level of involvement in promoting multilingual education with emphasis on including the excluded.

This UNESCO document is a must reading, especially for those planning to create content for their respective mother tongue- or first language-based MLE page or website.

Ched Arzadon suggested the following topics as part of the basics to cover when preparing MLE page content:  orthography, primer, local policy, awareness building events, local teachers training (monitor how many schools), development of local children’s stories (monitor how many), use of MLE in classroom (number of classes/schools/children), language/cultural communities –local, net-based, local writers group, adult literacy MLE materials, title of available literature, National Achievement test results (2008), testimonies/case studies, names of leading advocates, practitioners, trainers.

To reiterate, your basic resource is ADVOCACY KIT FOR PROMOTING MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION:  INCLUDING THE EXCLUDED. And don’t forget the Lubuagan Experiment, or Dr. Ricardo Ma. Nolasco’s MLE Primer and The Prospects of Multilingual Education and Literacy in the Philippines, among others.

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