Monday, December 6, 2010

Social Scientist issue on education in India

The current issue of Social Scientist (Sep-Dec 2010; vol. 38, no. 9-12) has some excellent articles on the current state and future of school and higher education in India. Together, these essays constitute a powerful critique of the recent and forthcoming education "reforms" in the country.

As Prabhat Patnaik argues in the Editorial: "education is being transformed into a commodity, like automobiles or washing machines, that will be produced by capitalists for profit and bought by those who can afford it."

If these analyses (see Contents below) are accurate - the arguments are certainly cogent and forceful - then we as a society are headed for some very bad times indeed.

On the subject of language, Anil Sadgopal (whom we've met before in this blog), in his thorough-going critique of the Right to Education Act (RTE), considers "The question of mother-tongue and multi-linguality":

"The knee-jerk policy response assumes that learning of 'good' English is best achieved through English medium schools, starting from nursery or kindergarten stage upwards to higher education.... This policy discourse also ignores the global research that reinforces the powerful pedagogic role played by the mother tongue as part of the multi-linguality (this may include English too) of the majority of the children in plural societies like ours in acquiring subject knowledge as well as learning languages other than one's mother tongue....

"The consequence of this misconception and lack of a sound policy is the widespread phenomenon of a rapid attrition of the capacity to articulate one's thoughts or ideas. The vast majority of the Indian children grow up in the prevailing multi-layered school system without acquiring the capacity to learn and articulate in either the state language or English and, in the process, losing the capacity to do so in one's mother tongue as well."

As I've blogged earlier, RTE includes the following opt-out: "medium of instructions [sic!] shall, as far as practicable, be in child's mother tongue".


1. Editorial Prabhat Patnaik
2. "Towards Democratization of Education in India" Amiya Kumar Bagchi
3. "Right to Education vs. Right to Education Act" Anil Sadgopal
4. "Education and the Politics of Capital" Ravi Kumar
5. "Policy Crisis in Higher Education: Reform or Deform?" B G Tilak
6. "UPA's Agenda of Academic 'Reforms'" Vijender Sharma
7. "Advantage In-bound Trade in Higher Education, or Advantage Human Capital in Out-bound Trade" Binod Khadria
8. "Governance of Indian Higher Education: An Alternate Proposal" Dinesh Abrol
9. "Commentary: Science Education" S. Chatterjee
10. "Obituary: Tapas Majumdar" Prabhat Patnaik

Friday, October 15, 2010

Barasana revitalization

In the August number of Scientific American, Wade Davis reports that "the once endangered Barasana are experiencing a powerful rebirth". He attributes this directly to a 1991 decision of the Colombian government which "granted the Indian peoples of the Northwest Amazon legal land rights to an area the size of the U.K."

In an otherwise grim recounting of the "last of their kind" (the title of the photo-essay), the Barasana are a lone ray of hope. Curiously enough, Davis concludes with hope:

"That cultures do not always fade away but rather may be casualities of other societies' priorities is actually an optimistic observation, because it suggests that if humans are the agents of cultural decline, we can foster cultural survival.... Our goal should not be to freeze people in time. Instead we must find ways to ensure that in a pluralistic, interconnected world all peoples may benefit from modernity without that engagement demanding the sacrifice of their ethnicity."

The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World (2009) is his new book. In January 2010 Davis gave a talk based on that book at the Long Now Foundation. That talk is now archived on ABC's Big Ideas site.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

MT as bridge language of instruction in SE Asia - report

Just received a link to this 2009 publication, Mother tongue as bridge language of instruction: policies and experiences in Southeast Asia. Will blog more on it later, but for now here's what the blurb says:

This publication, 'Mother tongue as bridge language of instruction: policies and experiences in Southeast Asia,' presents a compendium of language policies, case studies, and general recommendations for mother tongue-based education in Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) member countries. It provides insights that may further strengthen each country's policies concerning language of instruction as a way to achieve education for all. This book is a result of a consultative workshop organized by the SEAMEO Secretariat and the World Bank for SEAMEO member countries in February 2008.

The workshop aimed to increase understanding of the issues and strategies related to basic education for ethnolinguistic minority communities in Southeast Asia. Above all, this book takes the position that the learners' mother tongue is a bridge to further education, and that multilingualism is a tool for building bridges between people.

Here's the table of contents:


Dato' Dr Ahamad bin Sipon, Director, SEAMEO Secretariat

Chapter 1 Introduction 8
Kimmo Kosonen and Catherine Young

Chapter 2 Language-in-education policies in 22
Southeast Asia: an overview
Kimmo Kosonen

Chapter 3 Various policies in Southeast Asian 44

Introduction 44

The evolution of language-in-education policies 49
in Brunei Darussalam
Gary Jones

Education policies for ethnic minorities in 62
Neou Sun

Regional and local languages as oral languages 69
of instruction in Indonesia

Policies, developments, and challenges in mother 76
tongue education in Malaysian public schools
Ramanathan Nagarathinam

Language-in-education policies and their 84
implementation in Philippine public schools
Yolanda S Quijano and Ofelia H Eustaquio

Language and language-in-education policies 93
and their implementation in Singapore
Elizabeth S Pang

Language policy and practice in public 102
schools in Thailand
Busaba Prapasapong

Language-in-education policies in Vietnam 109
Bui Thi Ngoc Diep and Bui Van Thanh

Chapter 4 Good practices in mother tongue-first 120
multilingual education
Catherine Young

Chapter 5 Case studies from different countries 136

Introduction 136

Mandarin as mother tongue in Brunei 139
Darussalam: a case study
Debbie GE Ho

The mother tongue as a bridge language of 148
instruction in Cambodia
Un Siren

A case study on the use of Kadazandusun in 153
Sandra Logijin

The mother tongue as a bridge language of 159
instruction in two schools in La Paz, Agusan del
Sur, the Philippines: a case study
Yolanda S Quijano and Ofelia Eustaquio

Bilingual literacy for the Pwo-Karen community in 171
Omkoi District, Chiangmai Province: a case study
from Thailand
Wisanee Siltragool, Suchin Petcharugsa & Anong Chouenon

A mother tongue-based preschool programme 180
for ethnic minority children in Gia Lai, Vietnam
Hoang Thi Thu Huong

Chapter 6 The way forward in Southeast Asia: 190
general recommendations
Kimmo Kosonen & Catherine Young

References 196

Contributors 207

Friday, August 20, 2010

People's Linguistic Survey of India

Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, the Baroda-based organization for indigenous peoples, has launched a People's Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI). In the words of G N Devy, who is the founder of the Bhasha trust, and who is leading the initiative:

"Bhasha... convened a national meet of language representatives in March 2010 in which representatives of 320 languages had participated. [Among those invited to speak was Probal Dasgupta, President of the World Esperanto Association - Giri.] It was decided during the concluding session that a People's Linguistic Survey of India be attempted by networking linguists, cultural organisations and NGOs working with language issues.

"Bhasha Centre has already commenced the work and has completed the mapping of three Himalayan states, and has initiated work in three other states."

One of those three states is Andhra Pradesh. On 9 August - appropriately, the International day of the world's indigenous peoples - Bhasha and Osmania University Centre for International Programmes (OUCIP), got together at OUCIP some 30 interested individuals from academia, government and civil society to brainstorm. At the end of the session, participants agreed to write entries for the PLSI on 16 languages spoken in Andhra Pradesh. Other languages spoken in the state will be taken up in the next phase of the project.

Prof Devy emphasized that this was a people's survey; the idea was to get as complete a "snapshot" as possible of the language as it exists today, and to do so using speakers of these languages to write the entry.

The proposed format for each entry is also interesting. Apart from a basic, linguistic description, the survey will also record a brief (1000-word) history of the language; a short bibliography; four or five songs or poems and tales (translating them into English and Hindi); kinship terms; proverbs; colour terms; time and space concepts, and so on - a people's linguistic anthropology, in fact.

As many participants affirmed, a massive project such as this promised new knowledge and new understanding of the consequences of our development models. One participant spoke of the need to "re-invent knowledge categories", so that they serve the Indian reality.

It is to be hoped that such a project will also improve the quality of conversation between India and Bharat.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Language policy in Pakistan

Writing in Dawn on language policy in Pakistan, Shahid Siddiqui describes "two competing schools of thought" which tend to "totally reject" each other in Pakistan:

"The school of thought that is in favour of Urdu or the local languages does not see any role for English. The other school of thought, which favours English, considers native languages insignificant. Since the latter is in power, local languages are either ignored or their potential underestimated. No institutional support is provided to them and they are being subjected to a slow death. The painful fact is that many students who are being educated in English-medium schools find it difficult to read a book written in their mother tongue. Many do not know how to count in Urdu or in their mother tongue. The reason is obvious: they are exposed to English primers before any other reading material. They start learning the English alphabet before any other."

This makes it seem that Urdu and all the other languages of Pakistan (Ethnologue lists 72) are in the same boat, "menaced" by English. But earlier in the essay, Siddiqui laments the neglect of "local languages" when Urdu became the national language of the country.

"The other local languages spoken in the provinces, including Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto and Balochi, were unfortunately either ignored or relegated to an inferior status. This attitude was manifested in the lack of institutional support offered to these languages. A case in point is Punjabi: it is the mother tongue of about 50 per cent of the citizens of Pakistan but is not taught as a subject at school level. Thus the children of Punjabi families cannot read or write in their mother tongue and are literally cut off from the rich literary heritage of their language. To a lesser extent this is true of other Pakistani languages as well."

So, English menaces Urdu, while Urdu menaces "other local languages". Siddiqui recommends that "we should be striving for a balance between English and the local languages. Such a balance can only be achieved if our local languages are given respect and validation through institutional support. This would mean introducing them in primary classes as a subject."

As this blog has often remarked, "local languages" (read mother tongues) need to be the medium of instruction, the main teaching language, for the first eight years, not merely "a subject" in primary classes. All the research shows that an "early-exit" to a dominant language does not result in high-level multilingualism.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On "drastically mainstreaming" the Jarawa

An Indian member of parliament (MP) from the Andamans has caused a furore with his proposals about the Jarawa. He himself is not a tribal.

He observes that the "drastically reduced hostility" between the Jarawa and the "mainstream population" has "emboldened both sides... into frequent meetings". This is in spite of the official policy of "isolation / no contact".

These interactions, the MP says, "are resulting in inculcation of undesirable knowledge and habits as well as injection of race impurity.... [I]f the current policy and treatment continues, it will not take much time in total annihilation of the Jarawa entity."

But the MP's recommendations (PDF) to counter these developments are troubling. He urges that "quick and drastic steps be taken to bring the Jarawa up to the basic mainstream characteristics."

For this he recommends "weaning away" 6-12 year-old Jarawa children to "a normal school atmosphere, where they [will be] very quickly trained in personal hygiene, use of clothes and basic reading and writing skills. They [will] also [be] exposed to eating habits of simple mainstream people and modern amenities such as television and motor vehicles."

He cites examples from the tribes of Jharkhand (including the Birhor) to declare that "the final result was training the entire population into a village identical with any other village of ST [scheduled tribe] population in Jharkhand."

Nor does he stop there. He also advocates that restrictions on construction within the Jarawa reserve be lifted in order to build a railway, and upgrade the highway running through the reserve.

Condemnation of these proposals has been swift and widespread. Survival International, the "movement for tribal peoples", has summarized some of them. The MP's remarks have also sparked off a discussion on the e-group "andamanicobar", including this thought-provoking post by Madhusree Mukerjee.

(Disappointingly, Survival International's otherwise excellent study Progress can kill does not at all mention the role of the state's language policies and medium of education decisions in the decimation of indigenous peoples. For that you will need to go to the e-book by Skutnabb-Kangas and Dunbar mentioned below.)

I recently blogged about the e-book Indigenous Children’s Education as Linguistic Genocide and a Crime Against Humanity? A Global View. See chapter 4 (Examples 15, 20, 29, 30, and 31, for instance) for horrifying descriptions from all over the world of the consequences of such "drastic mainstreaming". An earlier post of mine tells the same tale - of the plight of indigenous children from Meghalaya sent to Karnataka, a 50-hour train journey away, in order to be made into "Hindus".

Let us hope that the uproar within the country and internationally will result in rethinking the MP's proposals about the Jarawa.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Linguistic human rights in India: policy and practice

Last month EFLU's new journal Languaging published my article "Linguistic human rights in India: policy and practice".

The issue is not (yet?) available online. But the link above will take you to the PDF version of the manuscript that I submitted to the journal.

Comments, as ever, welcome!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Languages on Worldmapper

Spent a happy hour in the Languages section of the visually remarkable Worldmapper site. (The maps, or "cartograms" on that site "re-size each territory according to the variable being mapped".)

The Indigenous living languages map presents a pretty good picture of the world's linguistic diversity (the uncertainty about numbers notwithstanding).

One surprise was the map of Languages not mapped: "The languages that we have not mapped tend to be confined to just a few often neighbouring countries; many are spoken by members of just one tribe." And then adds:

"Some of the largest of the languages included here are Telugu and Marathi, both have high numbers in speakers in certain regions of India...."

Hmm. The geographical boundedness of Telugu (74 m speakers) and Marathi (72 m) had not struck me until now.

The native-speaker numbers in brackets are from the Indian government's 2001 census. Other sources give other figures. UCLA's Language Materials Project, for instance, draws upon other sources to give Marathi "90 million people in India, 70 million of whom speak the language natively. The remaining 20 million people speak Marathi as a second language."

For Telugu, the profile says, "There are about 69,634,000 speakers of Telugu in India (1997 IMA). The total population in all countries is 69,666,000 or more. The total population of speakers including second language speakers is about 75,000,000 (1999 WA)."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tamil-medium education

Prof. Thiruvasagam, the vice-chancellor of University of Madras, made a strong plea for a mother-tongue medium education at the World Classical Tamil Conference 2010.

He poignantly describes "our very own children hailing from Tamil medium schools who are confident and happy individuals" and the shock when they encounter English as the medium of instruction in higher education:

"We have seen these children transforming before our eyes into timid, sullen individuals whose creativity and voice are silenced by the linguistic imperialism of English."

He also cites yet another figure for English-speakers in India: "the percentage of people speaking English is supposedly about 23%". He gives no source.

In contrast, the English Wikipedia in its table of Countries in order of total speakers - using government of India census (2001) figures - says 12% of Indians speak English (which still gives a 125 million plus people!).

But, of course, all these figures make little sense unless we have some idea of what level of speaking (or knowing) we are talking about. This is where the various levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) are particularly useful: "CEFR describes what a learner is supposed to be able to do in reading, listening, speaking and writing at each level."

To return to Coimbatore, the Tamil conference promises to be interesting. I'll be following it in English, of course! :-)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On the "outstanding success" of Esperanto

The well-known Esperantist Lu Wunsch-Rolshoven (Vikipedio) has an interesting comment on the "outstanding success" of Esperanto. The context was a discussion on Sam Green's recent documentary Utopia in Four Movements (2010).

Lu wrote an article in the online magazine Libera Folio titled "Film on Utopia Ignores the Real Esperanto-world" (Esperanto version). Here's what he says in the comments section of his article (my translation):

"The language Esperanto had (around) one speaker in 1887. Several millions have learnt it since then, and between one and two hundred thousand regularly speak it today. From the position of the smallest language in the world in 1887, Esperanto has risen steadily and is today among the 50 internationally most-used languages in the world. Every hour there are 12 000 visits to the Esperanto Wikipedia, Vikipedio, on which count it occupies the 35th position among the world's languages (which, with the exception (more or less) of Indonesian, Norwegian and Hebrew, already existed before 1887).

"Among the foreign languages of Hungarians, Esperanto occupies the 18th position, and is 16th among Lithuanians. According to my knowledge no language in human history has progressed like this in only 123 years. (Not even English, which during the last century grew more slowly in percentage terms.)

"If a documentary film-maker presents something on Esperanto within 20 minutes, treating the whole thing as a "utopia", with human skeletons and hugely unsuccessful malls, is not adequate. I also expect that the documentary maker clearly present the outstanding success of Esperanto compared to other languages of the world."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The anxiety of Indianness (contd.)

"The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets, edited by Jeet Thayil, makes a collective riposte for Indian poets writing in English. Thayil's anthology seeks to showcase a mature tradition, a canon of founding poets, and a take on the current English-language Indian-poetry scene."

This is what Michael Scharf says in the current issue of Boston Review. He adds:

"Thayil spends a significant chunk of his introduction rehearsing and shooting down vernacular critiques of Indian poetry in English: that it is a "failure of national conscience"; that it is "perpetuating colonialism in a postcolonial era"; that what it does is "essentially a conjurer’s trick" lacking a native tradition in India, inauthentic. His rebuttals dig deep into the history of the English language in India, going back to the mid-nineteenth century."

Scharf makes a third point that I found intriguing.

"Historically, vernacular literatures represent a response to literary languages that are perceived as cosmopolitan or universal.... India's regional-language speakers self-consciously positioned themselves against Sanskrit, a perceived universal, in order to define themselves and their literatures - a reaction known as vernacularization. Urdu, Persian, and Hindustani also played roles in Indian vernacularization, as did English, eventually. English itself, as a literature and as a language of statecraft, was created out of Latin’s shadow by the same process, part of a wave of vernacularization that also created written Spanish, French, and German. Bhasha writers define themselves against English as much as they once did Sanskrit and now do against Hindi, in some cases."

But Scharf's final point left me unconvinced. Citing Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih's "Blasphemous Lines for Mother", Scharf argues that the poem often "departs from standard English. Those departures - explored ironically in India by poets such as Ezekiel - turn them into identity markers." So far so Indian.

But then, he adds, "It is a transformation that requires English's relative neutrality". Requires? Not so. Writers often use "dialect" for distancing effects: against a background of "normative" Coastal-Andhra Telugu, Telangana poetry is very much an "identity marker". English then offers one more distancing tool.

Scharf adds: "Nongkynrih's poem is unthinkable in Hindi: that language still retains its connections to bhasha identity claims." Unthinkable? Not at all. You have only to see the inventively scatological uses of Hindi in Tarun Tejpal's The Story of My Assassins to see the possibilities!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Indigenous children's education: E-book

Indigenous Children’s Education as Linguistic Genocide and a Crime Against Humanity? A Global View by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Robert Dunbar has just been published as an e-book by the resource-rich website Gáldu, the Norwegian Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. From the preface:

As the title shows, the book argues that past and present Indigenous/Tribal and minority education, where children have a dominant language [non-mother-tongue] as the main instruction language in school, can be legally seen as a crime against humanity, according to relevant international instruments. This subtractive education teaches children (some of) the dominant language at the cost of their Indigenous mother tongues. It contributes to language shift, and thus to the disappearance of the world's linguistic diversity (and through this, also disappearance of biodiversity).

I found most interesting section 8.1.3 (p. 96) "Presentation of some concrete positive projects":

"First, evaluations of two central large-scale USA studies..., two small-scale studies (one Indigenous, from India and one immigrant minority study from Sweden...), and two large-scale African studies (dominated majorities, from Ethiopia and Burkina Faso...) will be summarised."

And the authors' eight recommendations:

1. The mother tongue should be the main teaching language for the first eight years.

2. Good teaching of a dominant local or national language as a subject.

3. Transition from mother tongue medium teaching to using a dominant local or national language as a teaching language.

4. Additional languages as subjects.

5. Context-sensitive cultural content and methods.

6. Well-trained bi- or multilingual teachers.

7. ITM parents and communities, and educational authorities need enough research-based knowledge about educational choices. Advocacy for sound models is necessary.

8. Systemic changes in school and society are needed to increase access to quality education. This includes knowledge about how the present system harms humanity.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Linguistic human rights in Iran

We move from Linguistic human rights in Turkey to those in Iran.... Here's a free rendering of what my friend Reza Torabi in Tehran says in his Esperanto blog posted, appropriately enough, on the International Mother Language Day, 21 February:

"Mother! Where is my language?

"To complain about linguistic human rights in Iran is nothing new. Five languages in Iran have more than a million speakers: Persian, Azerbaijani, Kurdish, Arabic and Baluchi. There are also a few other languages whose speakers don't reach a million but a few thousands, for example, the Armenians. In this note, I'd like to touch upon Azerbaijani, which is my mother tongue, and that of some 16-26% of the population of Iran.

"Azerbaijani is a "big problem" in Iran. Many have tried to strongly argue that "Azerbaijani is but an ancient form of Persian, and has no relation whatsoever to Turkish!" (Here's a slew of articles in Persian.) And that the Azerbaijanis are "pure Aryans", and that after the invasion of Azerbaijani territory by the Mongols, the population changed to a Turkic language (?!), and that....

"For 80 years now (since Reza Shah Pahlavi), many linguists, scientists and politicians have tried to prove this theory. The main aim was and remains to wipe out the Azerbaijani language and make the Azerbaijanis believe that "you are lost Aryans, and your language has been poisoned...." Nevertheless, they haven't entirely succeeded in "Persianizing" the Azerbaijanis.

"It's strange that the Iranian revolution changed nothing in this policy of wiping out Azerbaijani, and the new government followed the previous regime in its treatment of minorities, especially the Azerbaijanis.

"The systematic negation of the Azerbaijani language has caused the rise of radical movements in the Azerbaijani region of Iran. The Constitution recognizes the right to learn in the local (mother) language in parallel with the official language (Persian), but it's strange that Armenians (400,000) have a right to do so in their own language, but Azerbaijanis (more than 20 million) don't have a right to even study about their language in Iran (this is true also of the Kurds, the Baluchis, etc.).

"I now want to raise a simple question:

"Millions of people in Iran speak a language called Azerbaijani, which bears no relation to Persian.

"Why can the Azerbaijanis not study in their own language in spite of the fact that their right to do so is enshrined in the Constitution?

"Has the 80-year-old systematic disrespect of the Azerbaijanis in Iran had any success whatsoever?"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Linguistic human rights in Turkey

While Turkey's President Abdullah Gul visited India, the Kurdistan National Congress sent an open letter to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The letter declared that "The systematic political, cultural, social and economic genocide against the Kurdish people is still continuing".

Among the various forms of discrimination is language discrimination. Here's how Skutnabb-Kangas and Fernandes describe the situation in "Kurds in Turkey and in (Iraqi) Kurdistan – a comparison of Kurdish educational language policy in two situations of occupation":

"In Turkey even speaking Kurdish in public places has been forbidden until recently. Kurdish-medium schools are not allowed; Kurdish children do not even have the right to study their mother tongue as a subject in schools. In theory, courses in the Kurdish language can be taught to teenagers and adults but in practice the obstacles and conditions have been so many and so bureaucratically and legally demanding that there are next to no courses."

Only the abstract of this article, published in Genocide Studies and Prevention (2008, 3:1, 43-73), is available in the public domain. But, if possible, do please read the full article because it documents "a rare positive example where the earlier oppressed (Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan) do NOT turn into (linguistic) oppressors of others when they gain some power to control their own destinies."

Indeed, I'd welcome any account of a hitherto-oppressed group which, on gaining power, does NOT become another version of the erstwhile oppressor and reproduce the same pathologies of power.

Meanwhile, another activist Nurcan Kaya has authored the report Forgotten or Assimilated? Minorities in the Education System of Turkey (PDF) which calls upon Turkey to:

"play a historical role by bringing an end to the discrimination and the ignorance which has lasted almost a century. It is time to remember the forgotten ones, understand their needs, support their demands and fulfil Turkey’s obligations under international law."

Yet another report on the Kurds by the same organization, Minority Rights Group International, A Quest for Equality: Minorities in Turkey, (PDF) concludes wisely: "The state should not fear its own children. Not every one who asks for language and cultural rights demands territory."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Translating literature using Esperanto

In Kolkata, on 29 January, there was a book launch of children's books translated into Bangla from three European languages, as well as a Bangla children's novel translated into those three languages. The translators used Esperanto as a bridge language for this project. The three books, published by Samtat Sanstha, are part of a 4-country project  called "One Indian children's book in Europe - three European children's books in India", funded by the European Commission. The project has several partners and sponsors.

The books are the Bangla translations of: the Italian novel Diary of Jochjo Tempesto by Vamba; the Slovenian short-story collection I wanted to touch the sun by Tone Partljič, and the Croatian novel Wakajtapu by Joža Horvat. For their part, the partners translated (using an Esperanto translation) the Bangla novel Life of Damaru by Trailokyanath Mukhopadhyay.

Probal Dasgupta, the Indian coordinator of the project, has a more detailed report on the launch and the project in a post on the Esperanto discussion list Landa-Agado.

Friday, January 8, 2010

From mother-tongue to many tongues

"From mother-tongue to many tongues" is the title of my article in the current issue of the magazine Teacher Plus. The essay argues that a mother-tongue based multilingual education is both necessary and do-able.

The editors gave me a thousand-word limit. Listing all the references would have eaten up a large part of that word limit. So, I've re-published the article (with minor changes, and all the references) on my website. Do read "From mother-tongue to many tongues".

Comments, as always, welcome!