In 1999, a special day to promote mother languages was create: International Mother Language Day. The day was also intend to raise awareness of just how many languages we have on this planet (around 6,500) and to protect them.
The idea for this special day came from the country of Bangladesh, and 21 February is also the day when Bangladeshis mark the day that the Bangla language was officially accept. Bangladeshis celebrate both days by holding literary competitions and singing songs.
International Mother Language Day recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind. UNESCO believes education, based on the first language or mother tongue, must begin from the early years as early childhood care and education is the foundation of learning.
During COVID-19 school closures, many countries around the world employed technology-based solutions to maintain continuity of learning. But many learners lacked the necessary equipment, internet access, accessible materials, adapted content, and human support that would have allowed them to follow distance learning. Moreover, distance teaching and learning tools, programmes and content are not always able to reflect language diversity.
Theme of International Mother Language Day
The theme of the 2022 International Mother Language Day, “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities,” raises the potential role of technology to advance multilingual education and support the development of quality teaching and learning for all.
Technology has the potential to address some of the greatest challenges in education today. It can accelerate efforts towards ensuring equitable and inclusive lifelong learning opportunities for all if it is guid by the core principles of inclusion and equity. Multilingual education based on mother tongue is a key component of inclusion in education.
Activity of various country
UN Headquarters in New York
21 Feb 2022, 1:15 – 3:00 p.m.
Discussion with senior officials from the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Nigeria and Portugal to the United Nations, as well as the UN Secretariat and UNESCO, followed by multilingual cultural performances. Organized by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Nigeria, Portugal to the United Nations in collaboration with the UN Secretariat and UNESCO. Watch on UN WebTV
21 Feb 2022, 2 – 3 p.m.
Webinar on the use of the Dutch language and other mother languages within the education systems in the Netherlands, Belgium (Flanders and Brussels) and Suriname, presented by UNRIC in partnership with Taalunie, the Netherlands, Flanders and Suriname commissions for UNESCO, the National Language Council of Suriname, the UNIC for the Caribbean area, and the online platform Drongo. More information in Dutch.
21 Feb 2022, 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
“Cherish your mother language” – Virtual discussion featuring remarks by the Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages of the University of Adelaide (Australia), and by the Director of the Division of Conference Management and Chair of the Multilingualism Action Team at UN Geneva, followed by a live Q&A period. Presented by the UNOG Library and the Division of Conference Management. Open for participation via MS Teams.
History of 21 February
International Mother Language Day was proclaim by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999. The UN General Assembly welcomed the proclamation of the day in its resolution of 2002.
On 16 May 2007 the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/61/266 called upon Member States “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”.
By the same resolution, the General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, to promote unity in diversity and international understanding, through multilingualism and multiculturalism and named the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to serve as the lead agency for the Year.
Today there is growing awareness that languages play a vital role in development, in ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, but also in strengthening co-operation and attaining quality education for all, in building inclusive knowledge societies and preserving cultural heritage, and in mobilizing political will for applying the benefits of science and technology to sustainable development.
In Bangladesh, February 21 is the anniversary of a pivotal day in the country’s history. People lay flowers at a Shaheed Minar (martyr’s monument). They also: purchase glass bangles for themselves or female relatives; eat a festive meal and organize parties; and award prizes or host literary competitions. It is a time to celebrate Bangladesh’s culture and the Bengali language.
The Linguapax Institute, in Barcelona, Spain, aims to preserve and promote linguistic diversity globally. The institute presents the Linguapax Prize on International Mother Language Day each year. The prize is for those who have made outstanding work in linguistic diversity or multilingual education.
Importance of 21 February
A person’s mother language is the first language that they learn, and for many, it is the strongest connection that they have to their home, their identity, and their culture. Unfortunately, due to globalization, many languages are in danger of disappearing.
The United Nations estimates that a mother language disappears every two weeks, and with it, an entire cultural heritage disappears as well. All the stories and oral tradition of one culture is gone.
Currently, only a few hundred languages are taught in schools and used in the public domain. Even fewer languages are commonly used on the internet, a place that most of us use on a daily basis and ends up influencing the languages that stay relevant. Because of this, out of the estimated 6000 languages currently spoken in the world, 43% are endangered.
They are deemed useless and replaced by the ones that are more widely spoken, which means that parents and educators don’t teach them to their children, which means that the languages won’t make it past this generation and will eventually die out.
Even in the United States, where once there were hundreds of different languages spoken, only a few remain, and even those are being eclipse by English, as mother languages are lost from generation to generation.
International Mother Language Day promotes the teaching and learning of different languages and mother tongues, to encourage diversity and, above all, to preserve the history of different cultures. As a result, we learn about different traditions from all around the world, which inspires us to be more tolerant and understanding, and opens the possibility to have a dialogue between different people, different countries and different cultures.
Photo of 21st February
Everyone wants to celebrate this day on 21st February in a beautiful way. Celebrate this day in any way you can. One of the current means of communication is social media such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Linking, Instagram etc. Nowadays everyone is having the busiest time.
Those who do not have time to make a picture banner of Ekushey February. They can download beautiful pictures of me here. For your convenience, we have put up beautiful pictures. If you want, you can download it from here and use it as you wish. In 21 February, many people post pictures of Ekushey on their Facebook profiles.