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International Mother Language Day

The world celebrated yesterday, February 21st, the International Mother Language Day, which represents the day declared by UNESCO as the International Day of Mother Language Day in 1999. The celebration of this day aims to promote linguistic diversity in the world and to draw attention to the need to increase awareness about the importance of using the mother language as a medium of instruction in education.

This year’s celebration is organized under the slogan/theme "books for education in the mother language" to reminder and alert stakeholders in the field of education on the need to support the production of books in local languages, as current studies reveal that education in the mother tongue contributes to enhancing the ability of students to acquire reading and writing skills and to building powerful foundations for learning.

Thus , while UNESCO is concerned with mother languages, it, at the same time, encourages bilingual and multilingual education, provided that education during the early years will be run in the mother tongue, as this helps not only to possess the skills of the mother language itself , but also helps to acquire a second language at a later stage of education .

The Geneva Institute for Human Rights celebrates, alongside the UNESCO, this important occasion, which is of particular importance for the Arab and Middle East region where there are hundreds of local languages that have not yet been codified, where the speakers of these local languages face great difficulty in dealing with education systems that do not use their mother languages.

Geneva Institute for Human Rights reaffirms that concern with the mother tongue is linked to one of the human rights, namely the right to education, where specialists confirm the need of education to be in the mother language during the early stages. This requires the provision of different educational materials in local languages. Thus talking about the importance of the mother language will be futile without allocating resources for the production of educational materials such as books, etc in local languages. It's not just an issue of good intentions; huge resources are required to translate this into real practice.  Of course, the greatest burden will fall on governments to allocate a significant portion of their budgets to support education in the mother language. This of course does not detract the role of other partners including national, regional and international voluntary organizations which can play a major role in financing the activities which supports education in the mother language/s. We wish all languages every development and progress.

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