Celebrating International Mother Language Day 2020

On 21 February 2020, Embassy of Bangladesh in Addis Ababa organized an International Mother Language Day Celebration at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. Ambassador Monirul Islam started the celebration in 2017, and IICBA has accompanied the celebration ever since. Ambassadors and embassy representatives from over ten countries performed in their mother tongues for around 80 attendees. IICBA was represented at the event by Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director, Mr. Saliou Sall, Senior Programme Coordinator, Dr. Binyam Sisay, Program Officer and Ms. Ruixi Liu, Intern.

Approved at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference, International Mother Language Day has been observed since 2000. It aims to raise awareness of linguistic diversity and prevent world languages from extinction. This year’s theme of ‘languages without borders’ focuses on local cross border languages that can help promote peaceful dialogue and understanding between communities in neighboring countries.

At the event, Dr. Yokozeki gave one of the opening speeches, addressing the critical role of mother tongues in building peace and improving learning around the world. Thereafter, IICBA launched its Teacher’s Guide on Early Grade Reading Instruction. The publication offers technical guidance for teachers on how to teach basic reading skills during early grades. It particularly aims to empower teachers in Africa by equipping them with the knowledge and skills of early grade reading instruction, including the simple identification of the main pillars of reading, lesson planning and classroom management, taking into account the context in Africa. The teacher’s guide is a result of a collaboration between IICBA and Addis Ababa University as part of the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED) project “Beyond Access: Improving the Quality of Early Years Reading Instruction in Ethiopia and S. Sudan”, supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

In the coming months, the updated publication will be printed and uploaded online. Additionally, the guide is being contextualized for Ethiopia given its linguistic features and promotion of mother tongue language use in primary schools.

For more information of International Mother Language Day check out:

https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/motherlanguageday