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International Mother Language Day 2022

By : International Mother Language Day 2022

February 21, 2022

International Mother Language Day

February 21st has been recognized as the “International Mother Language Day” by UNESCO. In India, we also refer to it as the Matribhasha Diwas. This idea of celebrating mother languages was first presented by Bangladesh at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference. At that time, Bangladesh was striving to protect its mother language, Bangla. This day has been celebrated each year since 2000.

As per by UNESCO, around 40% of the global population does not have access to education in its respective native language. In order to counter this global problem, countries have been trying to promote linguistic and cultural diversity around the world.

This year’s theme “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities” will emphasize the significant role of technology and innovation in the multilingual education system and how it can improve the quality of education for everyone.

The potential of technology to resolve issues has been witnessed widely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Extending this potential to answer queries related to propagating multilinguists in the education system may help ensure educational reach in regions where children can only speak and understand their local dialects.

Many countries across the world employed technology-based solutions to sustain learning during COVID-19 school closures. A recent survey carried out by UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank, and OECD on national education responses to COVID-19 school closures revealed while there is much to be done to understand and document the loss in learning and education caused by the pandemic, lower-income nations benefitted from the use of simpler remote learning technologies such as sources of broadcast media like Radio and Television.  

Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO has said,

“Technology can provide new tools for protecting linguistic diversity. Such tools, for example, facilitating their spread and analysis, allow us to record and preserve languages which sometimes exist only in the oral form”.

This year, for the first time UNESCO has decided to add a theme for languages to the next decade. The next decade will be the “Decade of Indigenous Languages”. It has been estimated by the United Nations that by the year 2100 half of the world’s languages will become extinct; with the rate of extinction being approximately one indigenous language dying every two weeks. By ensuring continuous effort on protecting, preserving, and digitizing such languages, we may be able to safeguard the richness of linguistics for future generations.