February 21- International Mother Language Day

2/5 Min

In today’s rapidly globalizing world, the significance of multilingual education cannot be overstated. It stands as a beacon of inclusivity, learning, and cultural preservation, offering a bridge between generations and communities. This blog delves into the critical role of multilingual education, as emphasized in the theme for International Mother Language Day 2024: “Multilingual education – a pillar of learning and intergenerational learning.”

Multilingual and multicultural societies are enriched by their linguistic diversity, which acts as a vessel for passing down traditional knowledge and cultural heritage. Yet, this diversity is under threat, with languages disappearing at an alarming rate, posing a significant challenge to cultural preservation and the inclusivity of education systems worldwide. Remarkably, 40% of the global population does not have access to education in their mother tongue, a figure that alarmingly rises to over 90% in certain regions.

Using a student’s native language in school has been shown to significantly improve learning outcomes, boost self-esteem, and enhance critical thinking skills. This approach not only facilitates a deeper understanding of the material but also promotes a sense of belonging and identity among students. By incorporating learners’ mother tongues in educational settings, we foster an environment that respects and celebrates linguistic diversity, paving the way for more inclusive societies.

International Mother Language Day, established by UNESCO and recognized by the UN General Assembly, serves as a global call to action to promote linguistic and cultural diversity. The day highlights the crucial role of languages in achieving sustainable development goals, including quality education for all. Multilingual education policies are pivotal in preserving indigenous languages and ensuring that education is accessible and inclusive, bridging the gap between different generations and cultures.

Languages are at the heart of our identities, facilitating communication, education, social integration, and development. However, the forces of globalization have put many languages at risk of extinction. Every two weeks, the world loses a language along with its unique cultural and intellectual heritage. This loss is not just a loss for the community it directly affects but a loss for humanity’s rich mosaic of cultural diversity.

The celebration of International Mother Language Day emphasizes multilingual education, global commitment to linguistic diversity, and intercultural dialogue. By nurturing and implementing multilingual education policies, we can ensure access to education, foster lifelong learning opportunities for all, and protect our global cultural heritage.

As we move forward, we must continue to advocate for the integration of mother tongues in educational systems worldwide. This effort will not only enhance learning outcomes but also contribute to the preservation of languages and cultures for future generations. Let us embrace the power of language to connect, educate, and preserve the rich tapestry of our world’s cultures.



By: Sophia Pouya

Junior at Purdue University, and Roya Institute Intern