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Main Topics

Each of the topics in this Resource Basket presents an overview of a key aspect of program start-up necessary for getting your program off the ground. The topics focus on activities associated with planning for program implementation. Details on program implementation, content and materials development, and teaching training are found in the following Resource Baskets: Curriculum & Instruction; Teaching & Learning Materials, and Teacher Training.

Components of MTB MLE programs.pdf58.36 KB

Determining the need for a program

Before a community launches an MTB-MLE program, the first step is to determine the need in the community. As explained in detail in the Case for MTB-MLE Resource Basket, providing children with an opportunity to learn in their own languages offers significant learning, cultural, psychological and other benefits.

Raising awareness

The advantages of mother tongue-based and multilingual education often are drowned out by arguments against it. Many of these negative arguments are addressed in the Case for MTB-MLE resource basket. In the context of starting up an MTB-MLE program, we will focus on how to approach the issues with both skeptical and receptive audiences in order to promote the agenda for MTB-MLE.

Mobilizing resources

After all important stakeholders in children's education have been persuaded to begin an MTB-MLE program, the community's active participation is needed to ensure successful program start-up and on-going maintenance of the program. The planning activities relevant to start-up include anticipating the needs of the program and involving the local school community.

Assess the language situation in the schools

An important task for starting a new program is to gather facts about what languages and how languages are currently used in the schools to instruct students. Community members should answer the following questions in order to understand the current situation, and design a program that meets children's language and education needs:

  • What languages do children use? What languages do teachers use?
  • Do teachers encourage or discourage the use of children's home languages in class?
  • Do teachers speak the same languages as the children?
  • Are there written materials available in home languages?

Developing the writing system

A writing system, or orthography, for the mother tongue is critical, since it will be used to teach students how to read and write. A poorly developed writing system, or one with inconsistencies, can cause problems when students try to learn. Depending on the language, starting an MTB-MLE program may therefore also include developing or refining a writing system that is acceptable to the community (and possibly certified by a particular agency within the country, if the program is to be used in the formal school system). If a writing system does not exist, or the system needs to be standardized and agreed upon, then developing or refining it becomes a key task for program start-up and one which resources will need to be dedicated.

Developing a program budget

One of the most important tasks prior to starting a program is developing a budget. A budget will provide a "road map" for program expenditures over time, a key reference tool to ensure that money is not spent inappropriately. A budget may be designed to stick within an amount of money that is already available, or it may be used to raise funds for a program.

Building community involvement

Community involvement is necessary both during program planning, but also throughout implementation. Indeed, it will be key to sustaining the program and ensuring its success. Before a program is launched, the community will need to agree to support children's regular attendance at school and provide children with time to study at home.

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