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Mother Language Day celebrated in Thailand

©UNESCO/R.Manowalailao

©UNESCO/R.Manowalailao

20.02.2012

When asked why mother tongue language is important, a young primary school girl simply said: “It makes me able to speak and communicate.”

UNESCO Bangkok organized a pre-event to promote International Mother Language Day at Darakam School in Bangkok, Thailand. Students’ names writing in different languages along with postcard writing and drawing activities got children to think about the importance of their mother languages. The postcards will be displayed at UNESCO Bangkok on 21 February.

UNESCO’s volunteer staff and interns from Japan, Myanmar, Belgium, Republic of Korea and Thailand wrote names of participating students in the various mother tongues as a souvenir for the students. 

Home to about 500 students from Primary 1 to 6, Darakam School opened its house to neighboring guests including those from Science Centre, Office of Educational Service Area, student alumni, parents and its next door neighbour, UNESCO Bangkok.

On 21 February every year, the International Mother Language Day is celebrated worldwide. The Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the vital importance of language to ourselves, to our nations, and to the world.     

The mother language or “mother tongue” is the language in which first words are spoken and thoughts expressed by an individual. Thus it is generally the language that a person speaks most fluently. Cognitively, the mother language is a crucial tool every child uses to understand the world. Culturally, the mother language is a fundamental expression of history and identity.

UNESCO advocates for mother tongue based-multilingual education. Evidence from around the world shows that children learn best when taught in their mother language in the initial years at school. Yet, too often, children are immersed in classrooms and taught in a language that they do not recognize.

Children are expected to effortlessly learn in the school language without additional support.  Typically less than 15 per cent are able to do so and achieve acceptable marks; the majority does not. While they are physically included in school, the language barrier excludes them from effective learning.

For further information on UNESCO’s work on multilingual education, please visit www.unescobkk.org/education/multilingual-education/

By Rojana Manowalailao, UNESCO Bangkok


International Mother Language Day aims to "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world". 

International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh

 
Related Links:

Mother Language Day Celebration at Darakam Primary School
International Mother Language Day, 21 February