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International Mother Language Day 2022

February 21, 2022

The International Mother Language Day is celebrated on 21 February and it was established in 1999 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. Unfortunately, 40 percent of the people in the world do not have access to education in a language that they understand.

Through globalisation, many languages are under threat of disappearing altogether but they are a crucial aspect of preserving cultures around the world. At least 43 percent of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given a place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education, and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalisation processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether.
Hence, this year’s theme is ‘Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities’ and it will discuss the potential role of technology to advance multilingual education and support the development of quality teaching and learning al.

In respect of this day, we at World Assembly of Youth (WAY) aim to bring perception to this issue and appeal to the society to embrace this day globally. We strongly encourage young people to rejoice this day and the value of all mother tongues for linguistic and cultural diversity. Technology is pivotal platform for young people to recognise that language diversity helps to enrich us all, that this diversity of languages is a treasure, and not a barrier. Technology could provide new tools for protecting linguistic diversity, this effort will also contribute to the United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), which places multilingualism at the heart of indigenous peoples’ development.

We call upon our members and young people to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, and multilingualism. In the context of education itself, the significance of mother tongue language is obvious acknowledging the fact that it is more approachable to teach young people in their own language. Moreover, education in multilingualism could lead to preservation of cultures, and promotion of tolerance and peace among all.

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