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Program Startup

Resources helpful in beginning a mother tongue-based multilingual education program

The decision to start a mother tongue, bilingual or multilingual education program often comes from the realization that the current education system is not succeeding. This may be the result of years of poor education outcomes, including high rates of repetition and drop-out in the community. In some cases, the drop-out rate might accelerate after the first few grades, when instruction takes place solely in a language that is unfamiliar to children, who then are unable to learn and master content knowledge. At the same time, a community may realize that a large majority of children do not have the reading, writing and math skills they need to continue their education, leading to low rates of primary school completion (and low pass rates into secondary school). Although a number of factors can contribute to poor school outcomes, in many situations students' lack of proficiency in the language of instruction is the root cause. This is because children who do not understand the language their teacher uses face significant hurdles learning to read well and comprehending subjects like math and science. Once a community, school or education system decides to use children's home language as the language of instruction, what do educators and program implementers need to consider in order to design and implement a quality program? The diagram below (developed by Susan Malone, of SIL International) includes a comprehensive overview of the components that need to be considered during MTB-MLE program start-up and throughout implementation. This Resource Basket contains information on the following topics:

  • Determining the need for a program
  • Raising awareness
  • Mobilizing resources
  • Developing the writing system
  • Creating a program budget
  • Fostering community involvement

Details regarding other components in the diagram are described in the other Resource Baskets. EssentialFunctionsMLE_SMalone.png

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