International Mother Language Day is observed every year on February 21 to raise awareness of cultural and linguistic diversity. With the global influence of only a few languages, many mother tongues are disappearing which threatens the cultural and intellectual heritage of the regions they represent.
Preserving all languages of the world is imperative to protect culture and tradition, and to promote the same, UNESCO declared February 21 as International Mother Language Day.
International Mother Language Day 2023: Theme
The theme for this year’s International Mother Language Day is ‘multilingual education – a necessity to transform education’.
History of International Mother Language Day
International Mother Language Day is the brainchild of two language activists, Rafiqul Islam and Abdus Salam, who, in 1998, recommended that the day be observed to save the world’s languages from extinction. The proposed day has a historical significance, too as it commemorates the tragic 1952 killings in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan).
In 1999, UNESCO announced that February 21 will be celebrated as International Mother Language Day to promote free expression and multilingual education in the mother tongue. The day also pays tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in Bangladesh for their mother tongue.
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Significance of International Mother Language Day
It is important to celebrate International Mother Language Day because, through this day, UNESCO tries to fulfil its commitment to recognise the value of the mother tongue, particularly in the early years.
According to a UNESCO report, 40% of the world’s population lacks access to education in a language they can speak or understand. And to address this issue, International Mother’s Day came into existence.
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