top of page

A Measuring Stick for MLE

A tool, a Karen case study, and discourse in support of MLE best practices

Globally, more than 2.3 billion people, representing over 30% of the population, lack access to education in their native language. This significant number stems from governmental emphasis on establishing a 'national identity' and the value placed on a unified Language of Instruction (LoI). Analyzing a nation's LoI policy offers insights into its support for cultural pluralism, decentralization, and the promotion of indigenous culture. Furthermore, with 79.5 million individuals forcibly displaced and 258 million international migrants seeking employment opportunities elsewhere, there's an undeniable impact on educational provisions, especially in light of the diverse 7,097 documented languages spoken today.

The challenge of multilingual education is paramount in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4) of inclusive and equitable quality education. Susan Malone, in her 2016 keynote address, highlighted the crucial components of effective Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education (MTBMLE) programs, emphasizing the importance of being multilingual, multiliterate, and culturally aware. However, the true effectiveness of these programs is often overshadowed by a narrow focus on students' proficiency in national languages or English. Research underscores that transitioning from a mother-tongue to a national language could take minority learners between five and seven years, underscoring the intricacies and nuances of multilingual education.

Recommended Citation

Tyrosvoutis, G.,  Saw Shar Nay Thaw, Naw Mee Lay, Naw Paw Su Klay, Saw Nay Ta Mu, Naw Paw Htoe Ki Wah, Nan Eh Sar Klain, Th’Blay Moo, Naw Nay Yu Paw. (2021). A measuring stick, not the measuring Stick for MLE: A tool, a Karen case study, and discourse in support of MLE best practices. British Council Academic Papers.

bottom of page