WINDHOEK– Learning in a language that learners can understand is vital to enjoying the right to quality, says Rod April, Deputy Director General of the Namibia National Commission of the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO).
He was addressing an audience of children and parents during International Mother Language Day celebrations on Saturday. Celebrated under the theme Inclusion in and through education: Language counts, the celebrations emphasised that multilingualism is key to inclusive education, the importance of culture, diversity and languages. Children from various traditional groups explored and celebrated the rich diversity of their different cultures and shared poets in their mother tongues. April says mother tongue and multilingual education is key to reducing discrimination, promoting inclusion and improving learning outcomes for education.
“Mother tongue strengthens the unity and cohesion of societies. The more we can recognise and respect each other’s languages, the more we can develop a fuller understanding of each other’s languages and cultural traditions, based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.” “A strong factor in preserving Namibia’s identity is the enhanced development and mainstreaming of its various mother languages, this also through their use of educational instruction,” he says recognising the Ministry of Education’s provision for mother tongue instruction from Grade One to Three in its revised curriculum.
The one hour event motivated children to learn and appreciate their cultural diversity and how to define their cultures. Michael Kahorongo from ChiNamibia believes that every child has the right to speak, read, write and perform in her/his mother tongue making International Mother Language Day a suitable platform to educate the children, their parents and the community at large. “What a great gift it is, to still have a generation that is able to embrace their mother tongue in era where indigenous languages are dying out,” he emphasises.
This is the second time ChiNamibia is celebrating International Mother Language Day.