UNESCO chief calls for multilingual education for all

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A little girl reads her paper in class in rural Nepal. Photo: World Bank/Aisha Faquir

Students must have access to education in their mother tongue and in other languages, the head of the UN scientific and cultural agency, UNESCO, has urged.

Irina Bokova made the call ahead of International Mother Language Day, celebrated every year on 21 February.

People learn better in their mother tongue, she argued, calling for multilingual education to be recognized everywhere.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

We live in a multilingual world but most education systems ignore this reality, according to UNESCO.

There are 7,000 known living languages and most children grow up in a context where more than one language is spoken, the agency says. 

Yet 2.3 billion people lack access to education in their own languages.

The UN theme for International Mother Language Day is "Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual education."

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova says it's an opportunity to mobilize for the Sustainable Development Goals and promote inclusive quality education for all, also known as SDG4.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 41″

 

 

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