Statement on International Mother Language Day

Posted February 24, 2018

An audio visual presentation on International Mother Language Day was screened during the discussion meeting.

Consequently, UNESCO proclaimed February 21 as the International Mother Language Day to coincide with the Language Day Movement in Bangladesh called Amar Ekushey.

On this day, UNESCO focuses on linguistic diversity and invites its Member States to celebrate the day in as many languages as possible "as a reminder that linguistic diversity and multilingualism are essential for sustainable development".

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Speakers at the seminar said mother languages were identities of communities and reflected the cultures and traditions of the natives.

The event will be marked at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris by a language experts' debate on the theme "Our languages, our assets" in collaboration with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (link is external). Perhaps, we are the only country in the world where the government has recognised 22 official languages. She said Punjab Assembly has already accepted a bill to promote mother tongues, but no visible steps were being taken to implement the same. People are concerned about endangered languages today. In Senior Secondary School (SSS), which also lasts three years, a Nigerian child, according to the policy, must study two languages: an indigenous language and English Language.

"Every year, we come here to remind the government that Punjab has its own language which has not been given its due respect", Sufi said while urging the government to adopt Punjabi as compulsory subject from Primary to Graduation level. He urged Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif to immediately enforce adoption of Punjabi in the educational institutions.

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Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. However, many schools are unable to offer these indigenous languages because of lack of teachers, a cumulative effect of several years of indifference.

The day also promotes mother tongue-based multilingual education, particularly in early years of schooling, and its development in public life.

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