Multilingual Education in Nepal: Hearsay and Reality? A Report

JP’s NOTE:  Save for the project reports of the late Jose V. Aguilar on the pioneering use of the regional language as medium of instruction in the 1950s and the more recent study on First Language Education in Lubuagan, Northern Philippines, we have yet to see an exhaustive recent study on multilingual education in the Philippines. There was a short-lived effort to use some of the regional languages as medium of instruction during the Marcos Era but we did not get much traction on that and the effort appears to have died unceremoniously. Then there’s the Department of Education MLE initiative, DepEd Order No. 74 s. 2009 – INSTITUTIONALIZING MOTHER TONGUE-BASED MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION (MLE). It’s probably too early to expect one since DepEd appears to be in the process of laying down the groundwork for implementation of the directive. In the meantime, we continue learning about the experiences of other countries who venture into various MLE implementation challenges of their own, such as those of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in India in the immediately preceding post.

Next, we have this link to the following, Multilingual Education in Nepal: Hearsay and Reality? A Report, which was recently posted in the UNESCO Bangkok website (http://www.unesco.org/bangkok). The study was conducted by Vishnu S. Rai, Maya Rai, Prem Phyak and Nabina Rai within the framework of UNESCO’s extra budgetary fund on Promoting Multilingual Education in Nepal initiated by the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, UNESCO Bangkok. Note how the multilingual situation in Nepal — the issues involved, the almost lackadaisical attitude of government toward an enlightened language policy, the old “one-nation-one-language” ideology fostered by a “nationalistic” elite, parents’ preference that their children be taught English and in English, etc. — mirrors the situation in the Philippines. We could learn a few things here and there… especially if we take the time to digest the report from cover to cover.

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