TNI Bureau: Today, 21 February is being celebrated as International Mother Language Day (Matrubhasha Divas) worldwide to honor language variety and diversity. It was first approved at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference and has been observed throughout the world since 2000.
This day represents an unfortunate incident that happened on 21, February 1952 when four students of the University of Dhaka sacrificed their lives for the sake of their mother tongue. The theme of the 2021 International Mother Language Day is “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.”
UNESCO believes education, based on the first language or mother tongue, must begin from the early years as early childhood care and education is the foundation of learning. This year’s observance is a call on policy makers, educators and teachers, parents and families to scale up their commitment to multilingual education and inclusion in education to advance education recovery in the context of COVID-19.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela.
Message from the Director-General
“The theme of the Day this year, “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society”, thus encourages us to support multilingualism and the use of mother tongues, both at schools and in everyday life. This is essential, because when 40% of the world’s inhabitants do not have access to education in the language they speak or understand best, it hinders their learning, as well as their access to heritage and cultural expressions.
This year, special attention is being paid to multilingual education from early childhood, so that for children, their mother tongue is always an asset.”
-Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on occasion of International Mother Language Day