IICBA participated in the 12th International Language and Development Conference in Dakar, Senegal from 27 to 29 November 2017
Jingxin Bao, UNESCO IICBA
"How can you learn, if you don't understand? " this is the question addressed during the British Council's 12th International Language and Development Conference, held in Dakar, from 27 to 29 November 2017. IICBA, represented by Dr. Binyam Sisay Mendisu, Linguist and Programme Officer in language education and early childhood care and education, attended the Conference and contributed to the global discussion on linguistic diversity and language education. The Conference explores the role of language in supporting, not hindering, sustainable development initiatives through inclusive education, economic growth and societies that are more just and peaceful.
Dr. Binyam chaired the session “The SDGs and Language: Lessons for the UN from the U.S.” during the Conference and also presented a paper titled “The Critical Contribution of Teachers to the Effectiveness of Mother-tongue based Multilingual Education in Africa.” He emphasized teachers’ role and their everyday dilemma regarding which language to use in classrooms.
“The use of local languages at an early stage of education is not only a matter of pedagogy, but also identity and culture. We need to come up with creative and convincing ways of communicating this message to teachers. Teachers need to own this agenda.”
IICBA works together with UNESCO Dakar to address the educational, technical and professional needs of the region in teacher development. On the one hand, attempts should be made to revise and align pre-service, in-service and continuous professional development trainings of teachers to reflect the use of local languages in schools and build the capacity of teachers. On the other hand, proper policy, institutional and communal arrangements should be in place for teachers to effectively play their role in the promotion and implementation of Mother-tongue based Multilingual Education.