Why Learning should be done in Mother Language?

  • By Kirti Yadav
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Why Education Should be Taught in Mother Tongue?

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” If one wants to understand the true essence of the mother language, it is good to start with this famous quote by Nelson Mandela.

Every nation has its mother language or languages that instil a sense of belonging. It is also a symbol of home – something that is your own.  Our nation too has a wide range of languages, thanks to multiculturalism. And to celebrate this beauty and diversity, we celebrate International Mother Language Day.

On this day, schools and colleges organize various activities and events to promote the mother tongue. Also with the launch of the National Education Policy 2020, the emphasis on learning in mother tongue has also increased.

About Mother Language Day

Mother Language Day or International Mother Language Day is a worldwide observance that occurs on February 21 every year. The day is celebrated to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism. India too takes part in celebrating Mother Tongue Day by organizing several events on local as well national levels.

History of Mother Language Day

The beginnings of Mother Language Day trace its history back to Bangladesh. After the India-Pakistan partition in 1947, Pakistan had control over East Pakistan or what we now know Bangladesh.

In 1948, the Pakistani Government declared Urdu to be the sole national language. This did not go well with East Pakistanis since the majority of the population spoke Bengali and demanded it to become one of the country’s national languages. The petitions were not entertained and the region saw massive unrest and protests.

Students of the University of Dhaka also arranged huge meetings and rallies. On February 21, 1952, the infamous tragedy happened when the police open fired on one of the rallies, causing hundreds of casualties.

Later in 1998, language activists, Rafiqul Islam and Abdus Salam proposed the idea of International Mother Language Day to save the languages that were on the verge of extinction.

Their efforts turned fruitful when UNESCO declared 21st February as International Mother Language Day throughout the world in 1999.

Importance of Mother Language Day

Language has the power to become a political device, a voice of the art, and a way to empower the weak ones. It also becomes a part of one’s identity and the connection to cultural roots. And since Mother Language Day gives everyone the chance to celebrate and feel proud of one’s mother tongue, it becomes quite important to observe it.

How Being Taught in Mother Tongue will Improve our Lifestyle

Speaking and communicating in the mother tongue is not just about appreciating cultural roots, It also impacts people’s personalities and confidence. Here are some ways learning in the mother tongue can improve our lifestyle:

  1. Better Learning: By learning in their mother tongue, students can take away the pressure of understanding a foreign language first in order to learn new things. This is what is being focused on in the new education policy too. Learning in the mother tongue will, thus, be faster and more effective.
  2. Boosts Confidence: When we are taught in our mother tongue, it gives us the opportunity to express our thoughts better without any hesitation. This, in turn, increases confidence. Students also take more initiative in coming up with new ideas and concepts.
  3. Instils a Sense of Individuality: Switching to mother tongue is not just a step to faster learning. It also improves one’s own understanding of the self. Learning the local language also helps in understanding our heritage and this creates a sense of individuality.

No doubt that learning new languages is one of the most sought-after skills but having a strong grasp of the mother language is also a great advantage. It builds a strong foundation on which students can stack their other skills.

And if there is one day that helps in reinstating this significance of mother tongue, it has to be International Mother Language Day. Sunstone also takes this initiative to celebrate the multiculturalism of India and encourages its students to actively take part in International Mother Language Day activities and feel proud of their cultural roots.

FAQs on Language Day

Why is the mother language important in education?

Mother language is important in education as it helps the students in understanding the concepts easily and without any memorization and copying.

Why should children be taught in their mother tongue?

Children should be taught in their mother tongue as it lowers their fear of unknown language used in the classroom. They also feel more confident in expressing themselves.

How can teachers encourage students to use home languages in the classroom?

Teachers can follow the below-listed ideas to encourage students to use home languages:

  • By doing a bilingual read of the textbooks
  • By talking about the history of mother languages
  • By giving the opportunity to speak in home languages

Why is it important to speak your own language?

It is important to speak your own language to cherish your linguistic heritage and to express yourself without any hesitation.

How does language affect learning?

Language is the primary medium of learning and hence it can have a huge impact. If a student learns a new concept in his/her own mother tongue, he/she will understand it easily with a higher retention rate.

What is the significance of Mother Language Day?

Mother Language Day is significant because it is observed to mark the tragic protest of Bengali civilians and to emphasize the need to preserve multilingualism.

What is the history behind Mother Language Day?

As mentioned before, International Mother Language Day’s history is quite tragic. On February 21, police in Bangladesh (then a part of Pakistan) open fired on civilians who were protesting against the ruling that Urdu will be the national language. The civilians also included students who demanded Bengali to be one of the national languages too. Later in 1999, UNESCO declared the same day as International Mother Language Day.

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