Sunday, June 29, 2014

Multilingual education in Nepal - Report

"Policy and Strategy for MLE in Nepal" (PDF) is a 2009 report authored by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Ajit Mohanty. In 67 pages, it takes you through
  • the rationale for mother-tongue based multilingual education (MLE), especially for ITM (Indigenous/Tribal and [linguistic] Minority) children
  • the catastrophic costs worldwide of not implementing it
  • the various effective and ineffective strategies that have been tried
  • the successful implementations worldwide
  • how Nepal might go about implementing MLE
If you are interested in the subject at all, do read at least the section, "Summing up and recommendations" (p. 36 onwards). The authors conclude:
Keeping in view the present levels of linguistic competence of children and different groups associated with school education in Nepal, it is recommended that high competence in the mother tongue must be targeted for quality learning as well as for fostering sense of identity and self-confidence. In respect  of Nepali, school education must aim at high level of final competence, fit for higher education and effective participation in the democratic, political, economic and social processes in Nepal.
However, somewhat lower expectations for competence in English may be a realistic short- and middle-term target in view of the present circumstances where teachers, school administrators and teacher trainers do not themselves have high competence in English, neither in Listening/Speaking nor in Reading/Writing. Since requirement of high international levels of reading and writing competence in English is unlikely in the near future for most people in Nepal, a solid basic knowledge in English that can be expanded later might be a more realistic mid-term goal. The goals in respect of English could be increased later when English competencies of teachers and educators in Nepal become higher. (p. 37)
The report sketches the policy and pedagogic conditions necessary for MLE in Nepal. It ends on this optimistic note: "Nepal has made a very good start with the MLE project and activities around it. As Appendix 2 (Concept paper; one of the results of an earlier consultancy by one of us) and Appendix 6 (working group report, chair professor Yadava) show, there is a wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment. This knowledge was also eminently presented in the Yadava & Grove (eds, 1994/2008) report. This makes us hopeful in relation to the future in Nepal's attempts to maintain and develop further its enormous riches of diversities." (p. 40)

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