Education In A Multilingual World Essay

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Education in a multilingual world _UNESCO Education Position Paper_ 2003

Current educational decisions makers are faced with a great difficulty when it comes to deciding on languages, schooling and the curriculum. On one hand there are strong educational arguments in favor of mother tongue/first language use for instruction purposes, but on the other hand there is a need for balance between the use of local languages in learning and the access to global languages for communication through education. The educational systems try to adjust to the complex reality caused by mass migration movements and the variety of languages it brought to the countries, the internet which greatly influenced the use of languages for communication and learning,
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• The educational rights of pupils belonging to either the minority or the majority should be fully respected: the right to learn in the mother tongue and not only in the mother tongue, but also in the national or international languages, so that the minority and the native speakers get equal opportunities to participate and contribute to the larger community.
• Education should praise the positive value of multiculturalism and multilingualism.
• The curriculum should be amended to promote a realistic and positive embracement of the minority heritage, culture, identity and language.
• A stronger deeper understanding of other cultures should occur through language teaching and learning. Languages should lead to a growing awareness to other ways of life, literatures and customs.

To sum up, in the above document, UNESCO aimed to define the principles for a qualitative and equal education for all. The current situation in the world demanded consideration of the various cultures, societies and multilingualism. Despite the existing challenges the decision makers came up with essential guidelines concerning the language of instruction, education, communication and acquisition of knowledge. Research has shown that learners learn best in their mother tongue and the UNESCO document builds on that notion but also highlights the importance of gradual acquisition of 2nd and 3rd languages throughout the school