Language of instruction

UNESCO defined three basic principles on language and education:

  • UNESCO supports mother tongue instruction as a means of improving educational quality by building upon the knowledge and experience of the learners and teachers.
  • UNESCO supports bilingual and/or multilingual education at all levels of education as a means of promoting both social and gender equality and as a key element of linguistically diverse societies.
  • UNESCO supports language as an essential component of inter-cultural education in order to encourage understanding between different population groups and ensure respect for fundamental rights.

Many developing countries face policy challenges in deciding the language of instruction. They may have many different linguistic groups and students may have no exposure to the official language until the shock of their first day at school. However, research has proved that Mother Tongue-Based (MTB) education is efficient and brings better learning outcomes when strong political support and sufficient financial resources are provided together with the sufficient quantity and quality of teaching and learning material. Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual education (MTB-MLE) is composed by at least two different languages. The democratization of the English language teaching and practice, for instance, helps pupils to access to higher education, thus it enables social mobility and employment.

Countries see the political value of language as a unifying force, and, increasingly, as an economic passport into the global economy for their citizens. Nevertheless, some governments think this Mother Tongue-Based (MTB) education costs more than it benefits. Yet, on the long-term, research finds Mother Tongue-Based (MTB) educational policies cost-effective, while valuing diversity and empowering local communities. It is also proved to encourage gender-friendly education since outcomes and retention increase when girl learn at school in their mother-tongue. Teachers speaking the local language feel closer to the pupils’ family which pushes them to respect and support girls’ education.

MTB-MLE contributes to the equal access and quality of education since pupils can generally enjoy basic education more easily and see their chance increased to access to higher education and social mobility, especially when they come from remote areas and ethnic and linguistic minorities.

References
Benson, C. 2005b. The importance of mother tongue-based schooling for educational quality. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2005: The Quality Imperative. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001466/146632e.pdf

UNESCO. 2003. Education in a multilingual world. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000129728

UNESCO-UIL. 2010. Policy Guide on the Integration of African Languages and Cultures into Education Systems. Paris: UNESCO-UIL. Retrieved from: http://uil.unesco.org/fileadmin/keydocuments/Africa/en/policy_guide_sep_web_en.pdf

Promising policy options

Strategies to set a favourable context

It is essential that political actors at the national and local level agree and legitimate on the necessity of implementing strategies on the language of instruction. The national ministry must be aware and agree upon the languages of teaching across the country. For instance, in Latin America, a region with more than 500 indigenous languages, various governments have institutionalized multilingual pedagogy (Cortina, 2014, cited by IIEP-UNESCO, 2018).

It is also fundamental to have proper identification of the languages to ensure pedagogical suitability, with special attention given to unscripted languages. Finding good documentation on the language, review adapted orthography and grammar, as well as vocabulary development to teach unfamiliar content is essential.

Establish communication channels with the community about Mother-Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) and community management and control over the programmes as much as possible to develop a culturally appropriate curriculum. Implementing MTB-MLE increases parents’ participation in school, which is highly beneficial for children’s learning process.

Finally, enhance children’s readiness to primary school by investing in early-childhood education ECE in their mother-tongue: providing ECE in mother-tongue is a widely cost-effective policy as it increases children’s learning achievements and literacy levels substantially (Plan International, 2017).

Strategies concerning teachers and teaching materials

Train teachers to teach in more than one language: develop pertinent pre-service and in-service teacher training programmes concerning the language of instruction to fully support MTB-MLE education programmes (e.g. through the Consolidated Strategy of Nepal 2014  teacher training programmes were developed in 22 mother-tongue languages). Teachers should acquire knowledge about the local culture, beliefs, and traditions in addition to the local language.

Ensure sufficient placements for teachers who speak the local languages. For instance, the Consolidated Strategy of Nepal 2014 includes affirmative action policies to recruit teachers who speak local languages, mainly for the early grades of primary education. if there is a shortage of teachers who speak local languages or who have been trained, include teacher assistants from the communities who speak the local languages.  

Develop teaching and learning material adapted to the language, context and pedagogical needs. Textbooks, dictionaries and other reading books should be produced as much as possible in a decentralized manner with the national authorities.

Strategies to ensure an effective MTB-MLE policy implementation

Set-up classroom observation systems, which allow national, local and school stakeholders to identify the particular challenges posed while implementing policies regarding the language of instruction as well as control their effective implementation inside the classroom (for more general information concerning classroom observation systems consult Policy page Classroom practices supervision). 

Through diagnostic and formative classroom-based assessments teachers will be able to identify difficulties faced by children once the transition into the second language has been done. For instance, within the framework of a collaborative, action research programme done in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, Grade 1-3 teachers performed literacy assessments (credit was also given to students who demonstrated their knowledge in their community language). The research showed that by ‘engaging in activities that valued children’s home language, teachers were able to capitalize on their conceptual knowledge to foster vocabulary acquisition in the school language, and also sensitize children to the differences in the contexts of use for the two languages’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018: 129).

Overall, it is essential to support teachers to master classroom-based assessments which helps them acknowledge students’ language demands. This can be done through pre-service and in-service teacher training. For more information, consult Policy page Student learning assessments.

References
Alidou, H.; Boly, A.; Brock-Utne, B.; Satina Diallo, Y.; Heugh, K.; Ekkehard Wolff, H. 2006. Optimizing Learning and Education in Africa – the Language Factor A Stock-taking Research on Mother Tongue and Bilingual Education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Libreville: ADEA (Association for the Development of Education in Africa). Retrieved from: https://biennale.adeanet.org/2006/doc/document/B3_1_MTBLE_en.pdf

Ball, J. 2011. Enhancing Learning of Children from Diverse Language Backgrounds: Mother Tongue-Based Bilingual or Multilingual Education in The Early Years. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002122/212270e.pdf

Benson, C. 2005b. The importance of mother tongue-based schooling for educational quality. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2005: The Quality Imperative. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001466/146632e.pdf

Dutcher, N. 2004. Expanding educational opportunity in Linguistically Diverse societies. Washington D.C.: Centre for Applied Linguistics. Retrieved from:  https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/es/biblioteca/expanding-educational-opportunity-in-linguistically-diverse-societies

Global Campaign for Education. Undated. Mother-tongue education: policy lessons for quality and inclusion, Johannesburg: Global Campaign for Education. Retrieved from:  http://campaignforeducation.org/docs/reports/GCE%20Mother%20Tongue_EN.pdf

IBE (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). 2017a. Teaching and learning to read in a multilingual context: Ways forward for three sub-Saharan African countries (Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal). Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002475/247533e.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO. 2018. Learning at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Science, Measurement, and Policy in Low-Income Countries. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265581

Mcllwraith, H. 2013. ‘Part 1: Perspectives of multilingual education’. In: Multilingual education in Africa: Lessons from the Juba language-in-education conference. London: British Council. Retrieved from:  https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/C413%20Juba%20Publication_FINAL_WEB%20ONLY%20v3.pdf

Ministry of Education (Nepal). 2014. Consolidated Equity Strategy for the School Education Sector in Nepal. Kathmandu: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://www.doe.gov.np/assets/uploads/files/47441f6a3f1e62dedb7bb91655b8df92.pdf

Ouane, A; Glanz, C. 2011. Optimising Learning, Education and Publishing in Africa: The Language Factor A Review and Analysis of Theory and Practice in Mother-Tongue and Bilingual Education in sub-Saharan Africa. Paris: UNESCO-UIL. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002126/212602e.pdf

Pinnock, H. 2009a. Language and education: the missing link: How the language used in schools threatens the achievement of Education for All. London: Save the Children UK. Retrieved from:  https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/es/biblioteca/language-and-education-the-missing-link-how-the-language-used-in-schools-threatens-the

Pinnock, H. 2009b. Steps Towards Learning: A Guide to Overcoming Language Barriers in Children’s Education. London: Save the Children UK. Retrieved from: https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/content/dam/global/reports/steps-towards-learning-lr.pdf

Plan International. 2017. The right to inclusive, quality education. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-international.org/publications/inclusive-quality-education

Stroud, C. 2002. Towards a Policy for Bilingual Education in Developing Countries. New Education Division Documents No. 10. Stockholm: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. Retrieved from:  https://www.sida.se/contentassets/4dd1745d0376402bb3714f10dfa8efe0/towards-a-policy-for-bilingual-education-in-developing-countries_622.pdf

UNESCO. 2012c. Why language matters for the Millennium Development Goals. Bangkok: UNESCO- Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002152/215296E.pdf

UNESCO. 2016. Global Education Monitoring Report: Creating Sustainable Futures For All. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000245752_eng

UNESCO. 2016e. If you don’t understand, how can you learn? Education for all global monitoring report: policy paper 24, Global partnership for education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/if-you-don%E2%80%99t-understand-how-can-you-learn

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2016. The impact of language policy and practice on children’s learning: Evidence from Eastern and Southern Africa. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from:  https://www.unicef.org/esaro/UNICEF(2016)LanguageandLearning-FullReport(SingleView).pdf

Other policy options

Type of transition system between languages of teaching

It is very important to determine which model to choose so that the pupils learn effectively their language before learning another one. The models that seem to be the most appropriate are the ones in favour of a gradual transition from a language to another, promoting the mother tongue. Some of them are:

  • Subtractive model: transition from teaching in the learners’ main language to the second main language in the early years of education.
  • Early-exit transitional model: transition in the language of instruction from the mother-tongue to the second language during the fourth year of basic education.
  • Two-way bilingual education: in the same classroom, two groups of pupils with their own mother tongues. 
  • Medium-exit transitional model: transition in the language of instruction from the mother tongue to the second language during the sixth year of basic education.
  • Late exit / very late-exit transitional model: after at least eight years of teaching in the mother tongue, lessons can be taught in another language since pupils have had lessons of this second language before.
  • Additive model: six to eight years with the mother tongue as the first language in addition to a good provision of another language. This can be followed by bilingual education.
  • Mother tongue medium education: the mother tongue is the language in which lessons are taught, but there is still a good provision of another language.

MTB multi-grade teaching

In the cases where different languages are spoken in the same classroom, MTB multi-grade can be an option, however, it implies to invest more in teaching and learning materials.

References
Alidou, H.; Boly, A.; Brock-Utne, B.; Satina Diallo, Y.; Heugh, K.; Ekkehard Wolff, H. 2006. Optimizing Learning and Education in Africa – the Language Factor A Stock-taking Research on Mother Tongue and Bilingual Education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Libreville: ADEA (Association for Development of Education in Africa). Retrieved from:  http://www.adeanet.org/adea/downloadcenter/Ouga/B3_1_MTBLE_en.pdf

Ball, J. 2011. Enhancing Learning of Children from Diverse Language Backgrounds: Mother Tongue-Based Bilingual or Multilingual Education in The Early Years. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002122/212270e.pdf

Benson, C. 2005b. The importance of mother tongue-based schooling for educational quality. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2005: The Quality Imperative. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001466/146632e.pdf

Dutcher, N. 2004. Expanding educational opportunity in Linguistically Diverse societies. Washington D.C.: Centre for Applied Linguistics. Retrieved from:  http://www.asiapacificmle.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Dutcher-N.-Expanding-Educational-Opportunity-in-Linguistically-Diverse-Societies.-Prepare-for-the-Center-for-Applied-Linguistics-CAL.pdf

Global Campaign for Education. n.d. Mother-tongue education: policy lessons for quality and inclusion, Johannesburg: Global Campaign for Education. Retrieved from:  http://campaignforeducation.org/docs/reports/GCE%20Mother%20Tongue_EN.pdf

IBE (UNESCO International Bureau of Education). 2017a. Teaching and learning to read in a multilingual context: Ways forward for three sub-Saharan African countries (Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal). Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002475/247533e.pdf

Mcllwraith, H. 2013. ‘Part 1: Perspectives of multilingual education’. In: Multilingual education in Africa: Lessons from the Juba language-in-education conference. London: British Council. Retrieved from:  https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/C413%20Juba%20Publication_FINAL_WEB%20ONLY%20v3.pdf

Ouane, A; Glanz, C. 2011. Optimising Learning, Education and Publishing in Africa: The Language Factor A Review and Analysis of Theory and Practice in Mother-Tongue and Bilingual Education in sub-Saharan Africa. Paris: UNESCO-UIL. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002126/212602e.pdf

Pinnock, H. 2009a. Language and education: the missing link: How the language used in schools threatens the achievement of Education for All. London: Save the Children UK. Retrieved from:  http://www.unesco.org/education/EFAWG2009/LanguageEducation.pdf

Pinnock, H. 2009b. Steps Towards Learning: A Guide to Overcoming Language Barriers in Children’s Education. London: Save the Children UK. Retrieved from: https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/content/dam/global/reports/steps-towards-learning-lr.pdf

Stroud, C. 2002. Towards a Policy for Bilingual Education in Developing Countries. New Education Division Documents No. 10. Stockholm: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. Retrieved from:  https://www.sida.se/contentassets/4dd1745d0376402bb3714f10dfa8efe0/towards-a-policy-for-bilingual-education-in-developing-countries_622.pdf

UNESCO. 2012c. Why language matters for the Millennium Development Goals. Bangkok: UNESCO- Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002152/215296E.pdf

UNESCO. 2016e. If you don’t understand, how can you learn? Education for all global monitoring report: policy paper 24, Global partnership for education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  https://allchildrenreading.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/If-you-dont-understand-how-can-you-learn.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2016. The impact of language policy and practice on children’s learning: Evidence from Eastern and Southern Africa. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from:  https://www.unicef.org/esaro/UNICEF(2016)LanguageandLearning-FullReport(SingleView).pdf

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

Promising policy options

Develop a gender-responsive, non-violent and non-abusive language

In order to support gender mainstreaming in the national education system, special attention must be placed on the way in which relevant stakeholders –most importantly teachers and students– speak. Incorrect language not only reinforces gender differences and inequalities but also leads to inhibiting pupil’s learning process (e.g. language used in the classroom which reflects boys’ superiority) (FAWE, 2006).

The use of inclusive and gender-responsive language inside the classroom and throughout the national education system will not only tackle the issue expressed above but also enhance student’s learning experience and educational outcomes (FAWE, 2006). The following strategies can be implemented:

  • Provide training in the gender-responsive language. Help teachers and all relevant stakeholders in the education system to recognize the importance of gender-responsive language and how to employ it. Teachers, school staff, students, decision-makers and planners must reflect on their own gender biases: becoming conscious of their own gender-biased beliefs (e.g. that girls cannot perform as well as boys) is essential in order to tackle them down (FAWE, 2006).
  • Re-examine the language used throughout the education system to ensure that it is gender-responsive. Employ the use of gender-neutral words and pronouns in school for a more inclusive communication. Although this will largely depend on the language being used, in English, some words are gender-neutral and thus more inclusive than others, for example, employ the word “humankind” instead of “mankind”. By employing gender-neutral words and pronouns and moving away from the binary culture, students from the LGBTIQ community will also feel included. Eliminate gender-insulting language from the school: ban the use by students and adults (e.g. “girls are so bad at math”).
  • Gaining support from the school staff to employ gender-responsive language is essential. Changing own’s beliefs and language is difficult and will take time. The process must be very supportive and non-judgemental. Teachers, school staff and students should help each other recognize when they are not employing a gender-responsive language.
References
Benson, C. 2005a. Girls educational equity in mother-tongue. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001420/142049e.pdf

Chan, L. H. 2010. Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainable Development: Guidelines and Tools — Gender Sensitizing. Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000189054?posInSet=11&queryId=71a0a70a-ea47-49f4-88f3-9c737d27f0ca

FAWE (Forum for African Women Educationalists). 2006. Gender Responsive Pedagogy. Working Document Draft for the Biennale on Education in Africa. Libreville: ADEA (Asosciation for the Development of Education in Africa). Retrieved from:  http://www.adeanet.org/adea/biennial-2006/doc/document/B5_2_fawe_en.pdf

INEE (Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies). 2010. Gender Equality in and through Education: INEE Pocket Guide to Gender. Geneva: INEE. Retrieved from: https://toolkit.ineesite.org/resources/ineecms/uploads/1009/INEE_Pocket_Guide_to_Gender_EN.pdf

McKibben, S. 2018. Creating a Gender-Inclusive Classroom. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Retrieved from: http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/education_update/apr18/vol60/num04/Creating_a_Gender-Inclusive_Classroom.aspx

UNESCO Bangkok. 2018. MTB MLE Resource Kit Including the Excluded: Promoting Multilingual Education – Overview of this MTB MLE Resource Kit. Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246278?posInSet=20&queryId=05b6cf41-d87a-4a5a-b88c-cbfed736b08e

UNESCO. 2015. A Guide for Gender Equality in Teacher Education Policy and Practices. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000231646/

UNESCO. 2016. Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review: Creating Sustainable Futures for All. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246045

United Nations. n.d. Guidelines for gender-inclusive language in English. Accessed 30 April 2019:https://www.un.org/en/gender-inclusive-language/

USAID (United States Agency for International Development). n.d. Introduction to Gender-Responsive Teaching Methods. Retrieved from: https://www.mcsprogram.org/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/2018/11/PowerPoint-Introduction-to-Gender-Responsive-Teaching-Methods.pdf

Strategies for policy implementation

Set-up a classroom observation system to ensure that gender-responsive language is being employed inside the classrooms by teachers and students. 

References
FAWE (Forum for African Women Educationalists). 2006. Gender Responsive Pedagogy. Working Document Draft for the Biennale on Education in Africa. Libreville: ADEA (Association for the Development of Education in Africa). Retrieved from:  http://www.adeanet.org/adea/biennial-2006/doc/document/B5_2_fawe_en.pdf

Plan International. 2017. The right to inclusive, quality education. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-international.org/publications/inclusive-quality-education

Rimer, W.; Llewellyn, D.; Anderson, S.; Ellison, S.; Maldonado, M.S.; Aldave, A. n.d. Toolkit for Assessing and Promoting Equity In The Classroom: A Production Of The Equity In The Classrooms (EIC) Project. Washington: Creative Associates International, USAID. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/lifeskills/files/AssessingEquity-EIC_Toolkit.pdf

Policies for children with disabilities

Promising policy options

Strategies to set a favourable context

Political will and support at national and local levels. Children with disabilities should be taught in their mother tongue (WHO, 2011). Different languages, modes, and means of communication of children with disabilities must be recognized as the first language at a national level. Examples include Kenya’s constitution recognising Kenya Sign Language and Braille as key languages, Ecuador applying a bilingual education model for students with hearing impairments, with their first language considered to be sign language and Spanish as the second language for reading and writing (UNESCO, 2018)). Inclusive language must be used through the entire education system.

Involve the students, parents and the community: teach parents, and if possible, all of the students the pertinent languages, modes and means of communication used by children with disabilities in the classroom (e.g. a community pre-school run by the Red Cross in Tonga included various deaf children, which is why teachers decided to train the entire class in sign language so that they could communicate with them.)

Enhance children’s readiness to primary school by investing in early childhood education (ECE) in mother-tongue. The early development of children with disabilities is essential. Appropriate languages, modes and means of communication should be taught to children with disabilities as soon as possible to boost their future academic and social development. 

References
GAGE (Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence). Adolescents with disabilities Gage programme. London : GAGE. Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/Adolescents-with-disabilities-GAGE-programme-ODI-report-July-2018.pdf

Ministry of Education (Nepal). 2014. Consolidated Equity Strategy for the School Education Sector in Nepal. Kathmandu: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://www.doe.gov.np/assets/uploads/files/47441f6a3f1e62dedb7bb91655b8df92.pdf

Ministry of Education (Kenya). 2018. Sector Policy for Learners and Trainees with Disabilities. Nairobi: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/sites/planipolis/files/ressources/kenya_sector_policy_learners_trainees_disabilities.pdf

Rousso, H. 2003. Education for All: A Gender and Disability Perspective. Background paper prepared for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2003/4 Gender and Education for All: The Leap to Equality. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000146931?posInSet=22&queryId=71a0a70a-ea47-49f4-88f3-9c737d27f0ca

UNESCO. 2009d. Towards inclusive education for children with disabilities: A guideline. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001924/192480e.pdf

UNESCO. 2015c. Embracing Diversity: Toolkit for creating inclusive, learning-friendly environments- Specialized booklet 3: Teaching children with disabilities in inclusive settings. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001829/182975e.pdf

UNESCO. 2018. Ensuring the right to equitable and inclusive quality education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000251463?posInSet =6&queryId=9e5cc75d-0a13-40b6-b696-45c01bdec668

WHO (World Health Organization). 2011. ‘Chapter 7 Education’. In: World Report on Disability (pp. 227-256). Malta: WHO. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report.pdf.

Strategies concerning teachers and teaching materials

Teacher training in alternative modes, means and formats of communication should be included in pre- and in-service programmes to fully support the learning process of children with disabilities.

Training should include disability awareness. The entire education system should mobilise inclusive language, with teachers and all relevant stakeholders being conscious of their internal beliefs and stereotypes. Negative language against individuals with disabilities should be banned.

Teacher recruitment must ensure sufficient placements for teachers with disabilities qualified in sign language and braille as well as staff at all levels of the education system. If there is a shortage of teachers who speak local languages and sign language, include teacher assistants from the community, Community-Based Rehabilitations (CBR) workers, or staff from governmental and non-governmental organizations working in disability and development.

Provide accessible educational material in order to accommodate education systems to make them inclusive. It is necessary to provide accessible educational material (specialized software, speech-generating devices, screen readers, large print, amplification systems such as hearing aids, and communication boards). Additionally, for children with intellectual impairments the mother-tongue language employed in school must be clear and simple.  

Provide speech, language and auditory training and therapy to children with disabilities so that they learn how to communicate in the pertinent languages or modes of communication.

References
GAGE (Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence). Adolescents with disabilities Gage programme. London : GAGE. Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/Adolescents-with-disabilities-GAGE-programme-ODI-report-July-2018.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018. Brief 3: Diverse learning abilities and challenges. Accessed 30 April 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/improve-learning/learners-and-support-structures/diverse-learning-abilities-and

Josa, J.; Martin, A. 2017. Five things to know about Inclusive Education. Accessed 29 April 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/blog/five-things-to-know-about-inclusive-education

Logsdon, A. 2019. How Do Communication Boards Help Children? Accessed 29 April 2019: https://www.verywellfamily.com/what-is-a-communication-board-2161739

UNESCO. 2009d. Towards inclusive education for children with disabilities: A guideline. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001924/192480e.pdf

UNESCO. 2015c. Embracing Diversity: Toolkit for creating inclusive, learning-friendly environments- Specialized booklet 3: Teaching children with disabilities in inclusive settings. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001829/182975e.pdf

UNESCO. 2018. Ensuring the right to equitable and inclusive quality education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000251463?posInSet =6&queryId=9e5cc75d-0a13-40b6-b696-45c01bdec668

WHO (World Health Organization). 2011. ‘Chapter 7 Education’. In: World Report on Disability (pp. 227-256). Malta: WHO. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report.pdf.

World Vision UK. n.d. Educations missing millions – Report. Milton Keynes: World Vision UK. Retrieved: https://assets.worldvision.org.uk/files/4613/8029/8799/Educations-Missing-Millions-Main-Report.pdf

Policies for displaced populations and host communities

Promising policy options

Strategies to set a favorable context

Political will and resources are essential to provide displaced populations mother-tongue instruction –at least during early education programmes (UNESCO, 2016). For instance, Uganda’s Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities clearly states the importance of using children’s spoken languages in school and recurring to people from the community as teacher assistants to make that possible (UNESCO, n.d.). Some countries, such as Armenia, Germany, and Spain, provide instruction in foreign languages spoken by refugees (UNESCO, 2018).

Provide intensive training in the host community’s language. A strategy widely implemented is to provide intensive training in the host community’s language upon arrival, followed by specific individual guidance once in school. This has been implemented in Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Germany, Malta, Norway, Spain, Sweden Poland and Portugal.

Teachers and all relevant stakeholders in the education system must be conscious of their internal beliefs and stereotypes, and awareness-rising campaigns should be developed to tackle them down when negative. Negative language against displaced populations should be banned and be replaced by inclusive language.

Provide intensive training in the host community’s language to parents as well. Support from NGO’s, civil society organization would be beneficial for proper execution and implementation of intensive language training courses.

References
Plan International. 2017. The right to inclusive, quality education. Woking: Plan International. Retrieved from: https://plan-international.org/publications/inclusive-quality-education

UNESCO. 2016. Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review: Creating Sustainable Futures for All. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246045

UNESCO. 2018. Ensuring the right to equitable and inclusive quality education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000251463?posInSet =6&queryId=9e5cc75d-0a13-40b6-b696-45c01bdec668

UNESCO. n.d. Enforcing the right to education of Refugees: Policy perspective. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000146931?posInSet=22&queryId= 71a0a70a-ea47-49f4-88f3-9c737d27f0ca

Strategies concerning teachers and teaching materials

Expand the pool of teachers proficient in displaced population’s languages, with refugees who were teachers in their home countries being a vital resource. For example, in Chad, after a two-year training programme, Sudanese teachers are allowed to teach the Chadian curriculum. Explore models in which refugee and host country teachers cooperate and co-teach, to support the transition of the language of instruction for displaced population students. For instance, ‘Portuguese as a second language -PL2’ programme in primary and secondary education targets newly arrived displaced populations for whom Portuguese is not their mother tongue. Only advanced learners attend the curriculum of Portuguese and can receive additional support if needed, while beginner and intermediate learners have the curriculum and exams adapted to their language level (UNESCO, n.d.).)

Develop inclusive teaching and learning material adapted to the language, context and pedagogical needs of displaced populations.

References
UNESCO. 2016. Global Education Monitoring Report Gender Review: Creating Sustainable Futures for All. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246045

UNESCO. n.d. Enforcing the right to education of Refugees: Policy perspective. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000146931?posInSet=22&queryId= 71a0a70a-ea47-49f4-88f3-9c737d27f0ca

UNESCO. 2010. Reaching the marginalized. EFA Global Monitoring Report. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/socialpolicy/files/Reaching_the_Marginalized.pdf

Policies for minority populations

Promising policy options

Focus on mother-tongue instruction

Education policy which prioritises mother-tongue instruction within a strategy to improve quality and access, and which offers both first and second language learning opportunities to excluded groups, is strongly within the political and economic interests of countries with high levels of linguistic diversity. Some strategies include:

  • foster indigenous children’s right to be taught to read and write in their own indigenous language or in the language most commonly used by the group to which they belong, as well as the national language(s) of the country in which they live. In this sense, various initiatives, such as the Confident Learners programme, have been developed to increase the literacy skills of indigenous children in their native language during primary grades (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018);
  • undertake measures to effectively address the comparatively higher drop-out rates among indigenous youth and ensure that indigenous children are adequately prepared for higher education, vocational training and their further economic, social and cultural aspirations;
  • take effective measures to increase the number of teachers from indigenous communities or who speak indigenous languages, provide them with appropriate training, and ensure that they are not discriminated against in relation to other teachers; and
  • allocate sufficient financial, material and human resources to implement these programmes and policies effectively. Mother tongue instruction is clearly tied to educational outcomes as outlined in many research studies internationally.

In a study conducted by UNESCO 2012, it was pointed out that there are many positive outcomes when primary school children receive instruction in their mother tongue:

  • Children receive a good foundation. When taught first in their own languages, children learn better, are more self-confident and are well equipped to transfer their literacy and numeracy skills to additional languages.
  •  Children perform better. Evidence from linguistically diverse countries worldwide shows that children taught first in their most familiar language are more likely to thrive and excel in school.
  • Fewer children repeat grades. Studies have found that children who start formal education in a second or foreign language are more likely to repeat school years.
  • Fewer children drop out of school. Children who start formal education in a second or foreign language are much more likely to experience frustration and failure, resulting in higher dropout rates for these children. Worldwide, some 50 percent of out-of-school children use a language at home that is not the language used in school.
  • Children have more family support. When children learn in their mother tongue, parents and families can be involved and support their education. When children are learning in a second or foreign language, families are often excluded from the process.
  • Cycles of exclusion are broken. By including families and drawing on local cultural heritage, mother tongue-based education contributes to communities’ social and cultural well-being and fosters inclusiveness within the wider society.

Incorporate evaluation and accountability mechanisms

It is not enough to have a supportive policy in place, it must also be implemented and maintained effectively. An example of a policy with a built-in evaluation mechanism is the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages (1992), which requires regular reporting on the status of the languages that it protects. Similar mechanisms could help to ensure the continued improvement of ILE policies. (D. Korne 2010)

References
Boucher. 2015. What Matters In French-Language Schools: Implementing A Broader Vision For Student Achievement In A Minority Setting.

De Korne, H. 2010. Indigenous Language Education Policy: Supporting Community Controlled Immersion in Canada and the US. Lang Policy. 9:115–141

IIEP-UNESCO. 2018. Learning at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Science, Measurement, and Policy in Low-Income Countries. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265581

Toulouse, P. 2016. What Matters in Indigenous Education: Implementing a Vision Committed to Holism, Diversity and Engagement. In Measuring What Matters, People for Education. Toronto: March, 2016. https://peopleforeducation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/MWM-What-Matters-in-Indigenous-Education.pdf

UNESCO. 2008. Languages Brochure. Geneva: United Nations Education Social Cultural Organization.

United Nations. 2011. Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council* 18/8 Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples. 13 October 2011. Geneva: United Nations.

UNESCO. 2010. Reaching the marginalized. EFA Global Monitoring Report. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/socialpolicy/files/Reaching_the_Marginalized.pdf

UNESCO. 2012. Why Language Matters for the Millennium Development Goals. Bangkok: United Nations Education Social Cultural Organization.

Policies for OVCs and HIV affected populations

All of the policies and strategies recommended in the general section of the present Policy page apply for this category.

Policies for pastoralists and nomadic populations

Promising policy options

Native tongue teaching in early years

It is recommended that educational instruction for pastoralists and nomadic populations take place in their native language, at least for the first years of instruction, to learn foundational literacy and numeracy skills. This is not only important for intake and understanding of the material, but also for continuity with their traditional practices, and for encouraging family and community to enroll students in education (in any form- whether school-based, non-formal, open and distance learning etc.). Annis (2008) found that Ethiopia, children who learned in the country’s dominant language were more likely to discontinue traditional practices, while those that were first instructed in Suri were more likely to keep traditional practices and be proud of their culture, while continuing schooling. This made the Suri people more supportive of sending their children to be educated. Native language teaching may also in some cases, allow family members to also partake in the education themselves.

References
Annis K. 2008. Education for pastoralists: Flexible approaches, workable models. Addis Ababa: Pact Ethiopia.

Kratli, S.; Dyer, C. 2009. Mobile pastoralists and education: Strategic options. Education for nomads working paper 1. London: International Institute for Environment and Development. Retrieved from: https://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/10021IIED.pdf?

Souza de, A. 2006. Forum on flexible education: Reaching nomadic populations in Africa. Summary report. Vancouver: Commonwealth of Learning. Retrieved from: http://dspace.col.org/bitstream/handle/11599/276/NomadicReport.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Updated on 2021-06-16

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