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 girls 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. 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

It is key to train teachers to teach in more than one language. Pertinent pre-service and in-service teacher training programmes must be developed concerning the language of instruction to fully support MTB-MLE education programmes. For example, 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

Promising policy options

Mother Tongue-Based (MTB) education for displaced populations

Political will and resources are essential to provide mother-tongue instruction –at least during the early years– to displaced populations (UNESCO, 2019; Moumné and Sakai, 2017). Research highlights the importance of mother-tongue education as it ‘can result in increased cognitive development and second language literacy’ (Benson and Kosonen, 2013; Dolson and Mayer, 1992; Bühmann and Trudell, 2008; IDRC, 1997; Ball, 2011 as cited in Cerna, 2019: 28).

To respond to this, various countries have implemented mother tongue-based (MTB) education at early stages. For instance, in Sweden, mother-tongue instruction is offered to students who fill the requirements (the mother tongue is used daily in the house, and they have prior knowledge of that language) (Cerna, 2019). Uganda’s Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities clearly states the importance of using children’s mother-tongue (UNESCO, 2019). Ethiopia also highlights the importance of mother tongue-based education and has extended this requirement to refugee settings for early grades (IIEP-UNESCO, UNICEF and Education Development Trust, 2020). This strategy has been possible by supporting people from the displaced community, who speak the relevant language, to become teachers (IIEP-UNESCO, UNICEF and Education Development Trust, 2020).

Yet, it is key to acknowledge that the implementation of mother tongue-based (MTB) education can be challenging, particularly where there is a wide multitude of linguistic groups. Overall, this policy has significant implications on teacher recruitment and training which should be thoroughly studied (IIEP-UNESCO, UNICEF and Education Development Trust, 2020). When no teachers proficient in a specific mother tongue are available, innovative solutions can be implemented. For instance, in Sweden municipalities have established partnerships with digital platforms to provide mother tongue tutoring to students who require it (Cerna, 2019).

References
Cerna, L. 2019. Refugee Education: Integration Models and Practices in OECD Countries. OECD Education Working Paper No. 203. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=EDU/WKP(2019)11&docLanguage=En

IIEP-UNESCO; UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund); Education Development Trust. 2020. Teacher management in refugee settings: Ethiopia. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000373686

Moumné, R.; Sakai, L. 2017. Protecting the right to education for refugees. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000251076

UNESCO. 2019. 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

Intensive training in host community’s language

Although research shows that mother-tongue instruction is key in guaranteeing the quality of educational opportunities and students’ success, helping displaced populations acquire the host community language must be a top priority so that they can properly integrate into the new society and be included in mainstream settings (UNESCO, 2018a; UNESCO, 2018b; Moumné and Sakai, 2017). This can be done through accelerated, intensive second language learning programmes while ensuring continued support throughout their educational experience.

Language acquisition programmes should be provided to displaced populations expeditiously upon arrival. The length and objectives of this type of programme vary widely. Some last multiple years, while others aim to help students rapidly acquire the host community’s language so that they can access mainstream settings, followed by specific individual guidance once in school (Cerna, 2019). Choosing the right type of language acquisition programmes is highly context-dependent, yet, decision-makers and planners should be aware of research findings suggesting that lengthy language acquisition programmes can ‘push refugees out of the education system’ (UNESCO, 2018b: 67). Additionally, language programmes usually elude essential non-verbal practices –which are understood and learned through social interaction with host community members– key for the inclusion of displaced populations into host community schools (Dryden-Peterson et al., 2018: 14).

Several examples of language acquisition programmes exist. For example, Germany has established multiple models of ‘Willkommensklasse (Welcome Class)’ which adapt to each specific context (Cerna, 2019: 38). Some schools have implemented entirely separate Welcome Classes from regular classes that are solely taught in German; other schools ‘try as much as possible to include new immigrants in subject matter classes with the regular students from the start and give them supporting German language classes at the same time’ (Cerna, 2019: 38). Australia has developed a programme called English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EALD), which is provided to displaced populations by schools or Intensive English Language Centres. The programme lasts 12 months and aims to support students’ transition into mainstreams schools with the help of its teachers and Multicultural Education Aides, as well as mainstream teachers (Cerna, 2019). Norway has a twelve-month, full-time course, provided ‘within three months after settlement’ (UNESCO, 2018a: 18). Rwanda developed, with the support of international partners, a six-month course that includes English lessons to help Burundian refugees enter public schools (UNESCO, 2018b). In Turkey, a large-scale European Commission project has been developed to support Syrian refugees’ Turkish language acquisition through intensive programmes (3RP, 2016a as cited in Global Education Monitoring Report Team and UNHCR, 2016). Other countries such as Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Malta, Spain, Sweden, Poland and Portugal have also put in place language classes for displaced populations (UNESCO, 2018a).

Overall, language programmes must be ‘adaptable, culturally sensitive and well resourced’ (UNESCO, 2018b: 189). It is key to analyse each context to choose the correct type of accelerated learning programmes and the extent to which they focus on language or subject acquisition, as well as how fast they ensure students’ transition into regular, mainstream, classes. Initial language acquisition programmes should always be complemented by sustained support on language acquisition within mainstream settings. Moreover, including displaced populations in the development of language acquisition programmes is essential, so that they tackle their specific needs. For instance, in Scotland, 700 refugees and asylum-seekers were consulted during the design of language and literacy courses, and the results were mobilised to adapt programmes accordingly (UNESCO, 2018a).

In addition to language acquisition programmes for students, intensive training in the host community’s language should also be provided to parents and guardians. This can be done with the support of NGOs and civil society organisations, to enable them to ‘interact with schools and participate effectively in school life’, as well as ensure their inclusion in the host community (UNESCO, 2019: 50).

References
Cerna, L. 2019. Refugee Education: Integration Models and Practices in OECD Countries. OECD Education Working Paper No. 203. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=EDU/WKP(2019)11&docLanguage=En

Dryden-Peterson, S.; Adelman, E.; Alvarado, S.; Anderson, K.; Bellino, M.J.; Brooks, R.; Shah Bukari, S.U.; Cao, E.; Chopra, V.; Faizi, Z.; Gulla, B.; Maarouf, D.; Reddick, C.; Scherrer, B.; Smoake, E.; Suzuki, E. 2018. Inclusion of refugees in national education systems. Background paper prepared for the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000266054

Global Education Monitoring Report Team; UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). 2016. Policy Paper 26: No more excuses: Provide education to all forcibly displaced people. Paris: UNSECO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000244847

Moumné, R.; Sakai, L. 2017. Protecting the right to education for refugees. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000251076

UNESCO. 2018a. 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. 2018b. Global Education Monitoring Report 2019: Migration, Displacement and Education – Building Bridges, not Walls. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265866

UNESCO. 2019. 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

Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual education (MTB-MLE) for displaced populations

When resources allow it, mainstream classes should complement host language acquisition with mother-tongue development (Cerna, 2019). For example, in Malmö, Sweden, preschool introductory classes for displaced populations who speak little or no Swedish, aim ‘to strengthen the children’s identity and languages, both Swedish and their mother tongues’ (UNESCO, 2019: 35). Research shows that displaced populations’ ‘sense of belonging when included in national schools may be closely connected to their ability to both maintain languages used in the country of origin and learn languages used in the host country, allowing them to communicate with national teachers and peers and successfully navigate host-country structures —skills that are critical for facilitating learning and belonging — while also maintaining relationships with family’ (Dryden-Peterson et al., 2018: 14). To ensure quality education opportunities for all, the education system and in particular schools’ approach towards multilingualism and intercultural education is key.

To learn more on how to implement MTB-MLE, consult the general section of the present Policy page.

References
Cerna, L. 2019. Refugee Education: Integration Models and Practices in OECD Countries. OECD Education Working Paper No. 203. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=EDU/WKP(2019)11&docLanguage=En

Dryden-Peterson, S.; Adelman, E.; Alvarado, S.; Anderson, K.; Bellino, M.J.; Brooks, R.; Shah Bukari, S.U.; Cao, E.; Chopra, V.; Faizi, Z.; Gulla, B.; Maarouf, D.; Reddick, C.; Scherrer, B.; Smoake, E.; Suzuki, E. 2018. Inclusion of refugees in national education systems. Background paper prepared for the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000266054

UNESCO. 2019. 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

To provide quality learning opportunities to displaced populations, it is key to put in place policies regarding teacher recruitment as well as the development of teaching materials.

Teacher recruitment must aim to expand the pool of teachers who are proficient in the displaced population’s languages. Refugees who were teachers in their home countries are a vital resource and policies should be in place to facilitate their inclusion into the teaching workforce. For instance, in Chad, the Ministry of Education has put in place a certified two-year training programme for Sudanese teachers, ‘to equip them to teach the Chadian curriculum and to become familiarized with the norms and standards of the Chadian education system’ (Save the Children, UNHCR and Pearson, 2017 as cited in UNESCO, 2019: 50). It is key to acknowledge that when teachers are recruited from the displaced community itself and they are requested to teach in displaced populations’ mother-tongue, the training opportunities must be provided in the corresponding language (IIEP-UNESCO, UNICEF and Education Development Trust, 2020).

Host community language teachers must also be recruited. For instance, in 2014 and 2015, following an increase in asylum-seeker applications, Germany recruited 8,500 language teachers to support displaced populations’ language acquisition (Global Education Monitoring Report Team and UNHCR, 2016). Co-teaching models can also be explored in which refugee and host country teachers cooperate and teach together to support displaced students in their transition of language of instruction (UNESCO, 2019). For more information on how to expand the pool of teachers, consult the Policy page Appropriate teacher candidates.

Overall, decision-makers and policy planners must ensure that all teachers are trained in ‘language-learning and multilingual teaching … to meet the diverse linguistic needs of students, refugee and national alike’ (Bartlett and Garcia, 2011; Ruiz, 1984 as cited in Dryden-Peterson et al., 2018: 12).  Teachers must also be trained to adopt an inclusive language. Indeed, teachers, as well as all relevant stakeholders in the education system, should be supported to ensure they become conscious of their internal beliefs and stereotypes, and training opportunities should be put in place to address them. Schools, and the education system overall, must guarantee that negative language against displaced populations is banned and replaced by inclusive language.  

Moreover, policies regarding the language of instruction must be supported by the development of inclusive teaching and learning materials adapted to the specific language, context, and pedagogical needs of displaced populations (for more information on these subjects consult Policy pages Textbook availability and content, Teacher guides and lesson plans, as well as Availability of teaching aids).

References
Dryden-Peterson, S.; Adelman, E.; Alvarado, S.; Anderson, K.; Bellino, M.J.; Brooks, R.; Shah Bukari, S.U.; Cao, E.; Chopra, V.; Faizi, Z.; Gulla, B.; Maarouf, D.; Reddick, C.; Scherrer, B.; Smoake, E.; Suzuki, E. 2018. Inclusion of refugees in national education systems. Background paper prepared for the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000266054

Global Education Monitoring Report Team; UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). 2016. Policy Paper 26: No more excuses: Provide education to all forcibly displaced people. Paris: UNSECO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000244847

IIEP-UNESCO; UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund); Education Development Trust. 2020. Teacher management in refugee settings: Ethiopia. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000373686

UNESCO. 2019. 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

Policies for minority populations

Promising policy options

Mother Tongue-Based (MTB) education for minority populations

For States to provide quality, inclusive education for all, the language of teaching must be one that ‘students can speak and understand’ (OREALC-UNESCO and LLECE, 2020: 12). Research highlights that Mother-Tongue Based (MTB) education increases cognitive development, helps students learn better and faster, fosters second language acquisition, and enhances students’ self-confidence and participation in the classroom, among many others (Cerna, 2019; UNESCO, 2012; UNESCO, 2010; United Nations Human Rights Council, 2009). For instance, experiences in Namibia, Norway and Malaysia showed that teaching children in their own language, especially during early pre-school education, creates a solid foundation for their learning (United Nations Human Rights Council, 2009).

Developing language policies, enacting national laws and setting up institutes to guarantee Mother-Tongue Based (MTB) education can go a long way to help indigenous populations receive quality education (United Nations Human Rights Council, 2009; United Nations, 2011). For example, countries such as Argentina, Armenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela have implemented a variety of national legislations and strategies to safeguard indigenous linguistic rights in education (OREALC-UNESCO and LLECE, 2020; UNESCO, 2018a).

Education programmes can be established to revitalise indigenous and minority languages (King and Schielmann, 2004). For instance, in Chile, a programme has been developed to revitalise endangered and dead indigenous languages, including Aymara, Quechua, Rapa Nui, Mapazugun, Kawésqr, Yágan and LicanAntai (UNESCO, 2018a). Overall, decision-makers and planners must keep in mind that mother-tongue education should be constantly reviewed and adjusted based on demographic and linguistic changes while ensuring sustained political will, commitment and resources (Council of Europe, 2020).

Various challenges exist regarding mother-tongue instruction and they should be acknowledged and tackled throughout language policies, they include (King and Schielmann, 2004; UNESCO, 2010):

  • The lack of official recognition of minority and indigenous languages at a national and local level, compared to the national language.
  • The limited coverage of mother tongue education does not reach all concerned populations.
  • The poor quality of instruction and teaching materials in the relevant languages.
  • The lack of teacher training and recruitment of teachers speaking the concerned languages.
  • The limited number of speakers in certain minority and indigenous languages, and the high demographic changes.
References
Cerna, L. 2019. Refugee Education: Integration Models and Practices in OECD Countries. OECD Education Working Paper No. 203. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved from: https://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=EDU/WKP(2019)11&docLanguage=En

Council of Europe. 2020. Good Practices of Multilingual and Minority Language Medium Education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Retrieved from: https://rm.coe.int/good-practices-of-multilingual-and-minority-language-education-eng/1680a052c3

King, L.; Schielmann, S.2004. The Challenge of Indigenous Education: Practice and Perspectives. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000134773?posInSet=6&queryId=b73e5461-ac34-4a6b-ab6d-a412211452d9

OREALC-UNESCO Santiago (UNESCO Office Santiago and Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean; LLECE (Latin American Laboratory for the Assessment of Quality in Education). 2020. Inequality in learning achievement among indigenous students in Latin America. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000375139_eng?posInSet=2&queryId=edcf60a1-7865-4a91-bd59-5ae9ac15213f

UNESCO. 2010. Reaching the marginalized. EFA Global Monitoring Report. Retrieved from: https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2010/reaching-marginalized

UNESCO. 2012. Why Language Matters for the Millennium Development Goals. Bangkok: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000215296/PDF/215296eng.pdf.multi

UNESCO. 2018a. 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

United Nations Human Rights Council. 2009. Study on lessons learned and challenges to achieve the implementation of the right of indigenous peoples to education. Report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A/HRC/EMRIP/2009/2. Retrieved from:   https://www.right-to-education.org/sites/right-to-education.org/files/resource-attachments/Expert_Mechanism_on_the_Rights_of_Indigenous_Peoples_2009_en.pdf

United Nations. 2011. Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council* 18/8 Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples. Geneva: United Nations. Retrieved from: https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/713604?ln=es

Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual education (MTB-MLE) for minority populations

In addition to Mother Tongue-Based (MTB) education, several countries have implemented Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual education (MTB-MLE) (and bilingual education). For instance in Latin America, where there are over 500 indigenous languages, 12 countries have already institutionalised multilingual pedagogy to ensure teaching in indigenous languages while also ensuring students learn the national language (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018) (if you wish to learn more about the types of bilingual education models implemented in Latin America consult Annex 1). Other countries such as New Zealand and Sweden have also implemented multilingual education (OREALC-UNESCO and LLECE, 2020).

To ensure effective bilingualism or multilingualism, it is key ‘to balance the use and teaching of the mother tongue with the learning of other languages in a culturally appropriate way’ (King and Schielmann, 2004: 43). A common strategy is to teach official languages as a subject matter in primary school while ensuring mother-tongue as the language of instruction (UNESCO, 2010). Several types of bilingualism exist, for instance the additive approach which conserves and improves the mother tongue through instruction, while the second language is included at a later stage; or the subtractive approach where mother-tongue is taught first, and then a transition is done towards the second language, which becomes the only medium of instruction in the classroom (for more information on the different types of transition consult the general section of the present policy page).

The following recommendations should be taken into account to nurture successful MTB-MLE education (UNESCO, 2010; Council of Europe, 2020):

  • Multilingual or bilingual education coverage should reach all the marginalised minority and indigenous populations.
  • Good quality instructional materials and curriculum must be developed.
  • Inclusive, culturally-responsive teaching practices must be fostered.
  • Multilingual or bilingual education should be continuously monitored, reviewed and adapted.

Annex 1

Bilingual education models in Latin America

Source: Lopez, L.E. 2009. Reaching the unreached: indigenous intercultural bilingual education in Latin America. Background paper prepared for the 2010 Global Education Monitoring Report. p.11Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000186620?posInSet=14&queryId=edcf60a1-7865-4a91-bd59-5ae9ac15213f

References
Council of Europe. 2020. Good Practices of Multilingual and Minority Language Medium Education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Retrieved from: https://rm.coe.int/good-practices-of-multilingual-and-minority-language-education-eng/1680a052c3

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

King, L.; Schielmann, S.2004. The Challenge of Indigenous Education: Practice and Perspectives. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000134773?posInSet=6&queryId=b73e5461-ac34-4a6b-ab6d-a412211452d9

OREALC-UNESCO Santiago (UNESCO Office Santiago and Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean; LLECE (Latin American Laboratory for the Assessment of Quality in Education). 2020. Inequality in learning achievement among indigenous students in Latin America. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000375139_eng?posInSet=2&queryId=edcf60a1-7865-4a91-bd59-5ae9ac15213f

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

Strategies concerning teachers, curricula, and teaching materials

To provide quality learning opportunities to minority and indigenous populations, it is key to develop and/or adapt the curricula and teaching materials, as well as foster teacher training in mother-tongue, bilingual, and multilingual education.

To ensure adequate learning opportunities, the curriculum in place must be revised and adapted to languages of instruction other than the national one, while ensuring it is culturally responsive (for more information on this consult Policy page Individual learning needs). For example, in Suriname, the curriculum has been reviewed to include ten local languages, cancelling the previous ‘Dutch-Only policy for instruction and textbooks’ (Kambel, 2020: 23). Suriname’s new curriculum is inclusive and aims to recognize ‘all learners’ cultural backgrounds, histories and knowledges’ as well as the respect for all languages (Kambel, 2020: 23). In Bolivia, various regionalised curricula for indigenous and aboriginal have been developed (UNESCO, 2018a).

In addition to the curriculum, teaching materials should be created or adapted to the relevant languages, as well as textbooks, teacher guides and lesson plans. Some examples of actions put in place by countries include Venezuela’s development of monolingual and bilingual textbooks and teachers guides in indigenous languages including Bari, Baré, Yaruro, Kariña, Wayuu, Warekena, Baniva, Warao and Curripaco (UNESCO, 2018a). Bolivia’s development of school booklets in 13 indigenous languages (UNESCO, 2018a). As well as Sweden’s design of teaching materials in national minority languages with the support of the Sami Education Board (UNESCO, 2018a). (For more information on these subjects, consult Policy pages Textbook availability and content, Teacher guides and lesson plans, as well as Availability of teaching aids).

Finally, if bilingual or multilingual education is to be a reality, teachers must be trained accordingly. Pre- and in-service teacher training should include mother-tongue, bilingual and multilingual teaching strategies (Kambel, 2020; UNESCO, 2010). In this regard, Ecuador has established five specialised teacher-training colleges and Bolivia has created three indigenous language universities to ensure teachers’ bilingual training (UNESCO, 2010). This training can be done with the support of minority teachers, for instance, indigenous representatives and community members can be selected to train teachers as language teachers (United Nations Human Rights Council, 2009). Native speakers can also be encouraged to get involved in the classroom as co-teachers to support teachers (King and Schielmann, 2004).

References
Kambel, E-R. 2020. Rurality and Education in Suriname: Education and Inclusion of Remote Populations in Suriname. Background paper prepared for the 2020 GEM Report Latin America and the Caribbean. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000374773?posInSet=17&queryId=edcf60a1-7865-4a91-bd59-5ae9ac15213f

King, L.; Schielmann, S.2004. The Challenge of Indigenous Education: Practice and Perspectives. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000134773?posInSet=6&queryId=b73e5461-ac34-4a6b-ab6d-a412211452d9

UNESCO. 2010. Reaching the marginalized. EFA Global Monitoring Report. Retrieved from: https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2010/reaching-marginalized

UNESCO. 2018a. 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

United Nations Human Rights Council. 2009. Study on lessons learned and challenges to achieve the implementation of the right of indigenous peoples to education. Report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A/HRC/EMRIP/2009/2. Retrieved from:   https://www.right-to-education.org/sites/right-to-education.org/files/resource-attachments/Expert_Mechanism_on_the_Rights_of_Indigenous_Peoples_2009_en.pdf

Community’s participation and awareness-raising campaigns

It is key to ensure the participation of the community in the decision-making processes and implementation of mother-tongue, bilingual and multilingual education policies (Council of Europe, 2020; United Nations Human Rights Council, 2009). For example, Denmark, Poland, and New Zealand have established consultations of minority populations as well as research activities to ensure that the ‘language needs of national minority children are being met’ (UNESCO, 2018a: 60).

Language policies should also be accompanied by awareness-raising campaigns to address biases and prejudices, as well as highlight the importance of revitalising minority and indigenous languages (Council of Europe, 2020). For instance, this has been done in Canada with the support of indigenous communities and organisations (UNESCO, 2018a).

References
Council of Europe. 2020. Good Practices of Multilingual and Minority Language Medium Education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Retrieved from: https://rm.coe.int/good-practices-of-multilingual-and-minority-language-education-eng/1680a052c3

UNESCO. 2018a. 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

United Nations Human Rights Council. 2009. Study on lessons learned and challenges to achieve the implementation of the right of indigenous peoples to education. Report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A/HRC/EMRIP/2009/2. Retrieved from:   https://www.right-to-education.org/sites/right-to-education.org/files/resource-attachments/Expert_Mechanism_on_the_Rights_of_Indigenous_Peoples_2009_en.pdf

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 2022-03-14

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