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Who we are

The Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education Network (MTB-MLE Network) is an association of individuals and agencies that share a common vision: all children have the right to receive a quality education in a linguistically and culturally appropriate environment. We believe that providing children with education in the languages they and their parents know and use at home promotes educational equity, improves their educational outcomes and helps them form a positive self-concept and sense of identity within their culture.

Partners and Members of the Network

Individuals associated with the MTB-MLE Network work in the fields of mother-tongue and multilingual education, policy and research, community development, and language studies. The agencies that participate in the network are involved in mother tongue literacy acquisition, early childhood development, bilingual and multilingual education, early grade reading assessment and programs, community-based literacy programs, and teacher training and support. Individuals and institutions affiliated with the network jointly share a respect for the use of a child’s mother tongue (or other familiar language) as the initial and fundamental language of instruction for early and primary education, a means for developing a strong foundation for reading and writing, and a bridge to the learning of another language. Read short bios of the Network's Steering Committee members.The MTB-MLE Network is open to all interested in learning about and supporting MTB-MLE initiatives. Our participant base resides primarily in Washington, DC, but includes people from elsewhere in the United States, Canada and other areas of the world.

What we aim to achieve

Through our programs and activities, the MTB-MLE Network strives to achieve the following objectives:

  • Increased understanding among policy makers and other stakeholders of appropriate and effective mother tongue and MLE policies and practices;
  • Increased communication, sharing of knowledge, research and experiences, and collaboration among stakeholders around issues pertaining to language, literacy and education;
  • Increased financial, institutional and governmental support for mother tongue and MLE policies, programs, projects and research; and
  • Increased integration and mainstreaming of MTB-MLE issues in education research, planning, programs, practices and policy, including teacher training, literacy instruction, materials development and assessment/evaluation.

What we do

The MLE WG has four primary areas of focus, grouped into the following activities:

  1. Disseminating information and resources about MT and MLE. The MTB-MLE Network facilitates communication and information sharing on MTB-MLE policies and programs, research and best practices, and news and events. Specifically, we provide an online “web portal” that includes useful information on mother tongue and multilingual education, including content aimed at specific stakeholders as well as at the general public. This publicly-available website includes resources related to MTB-MLE, including reports, policy briefs, information on developing and implementing an MTB-MLE program, research, events, and an online space for MTB-MLE groups and networks to post and share information.
  2. Facilitating collaboration, networking and research on mother tongue and MLE issues. The MTB-MLE Network serves as a mechanism to foster collaboration on MTB-MLE programs and practices by creating a broad network of individuals and institutions from diverse organizations, geographical areas and professions whose activities involve or influence MTB-MLE.To do so, we:
  • Conduct outreach to representatives of MTB-MLE groups and networks around the world to help build a global network of MTB-MLE groups;
  • Maintain a searchable, online database of individuals interested in MTB-MLE issues;
  • Organize and participate in events on MTB-MLE issues, programs and practices; and
  • Support and promote MTB- and MLE-related research.
  1. Providing support to stakeholders and allies around mother tongue and MTB-MLE issues. The MTB-MLE Network provides advice, resources, referrals on mother tongue instruction and learning. Our support includes housing an inventory of research on MTB-MLE practices and programs, facilitating discussion on topical themes, and providing venues for exploring key issues.
  2. Advocating for MTB-MLE with key stakeholders. The MTB-MLE Network takes an active role in advocating for appropriate MLE policies and practices, better integration of MTB-MLE issues into education funding and programs, and donor support for MT MLE efforts. To do so, we:
  • Conduct outreach to potential donor organizations;
  • Target NGOs and government policy groups to advocate for MTB-MLE;
  • Organize events to share information about MTB-MLE issues; and
  • Identify other strategic opportunities around which to conduct MTB-MLE advocacy.

How we work

Governance of the MTB-MLE Network resides in a Steering Committee, which is responsible for identifying group priorities and objectives, determining program initiatives, coordinating and organizing events, facilitating communication among members, disseminating information, and locating resources and financing. The members of the committee serve at their own discretion and are not compensated for their service. Members are encouraged to participate in the Steering Committee as specific needs are identified.

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