International Mother Language Day 2022: Know Theme, History, Significance and Key Facts

International Mother Language Day 2022: It is observed on 21 February to spread awareness about the importance of linguistic, cultural diversity, and multilingualism. Check below the theme of the day, its history behind celebration, significance, etc.
Created On: Feb 21, 2022 10:07 IST
Modified On: Feb 21, 2022 12:34 IST
International Mother Language Day
International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day 2022: It is celebrated on 21 February to spread awareness of linguistic, cultural diversity, and to promote multilingualism. India is home to hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects which make its linguistic and cultural diversity the most unique in the world. Language is not only a means of communication but it also represents a diverse cultural and intellectual heritage.                                                                                                                                                                                   It is celebrated due to the initiative of Bangladesh. On 21 February, 1952 four students were killed while campaigning for the use of Bengali as their mother language officially in Bangladesh.

Let’s have a look at history.

International Mother Language Day 2022: History

In November 1999, the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed International Mother Language Day (30C/62). The General Assembly of the UN welcomed the proclamation of the day in its resolution A/RES/56/262 of 2002.

In the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly A/RES/61/266 on 16 May, 2007 called Member States “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world". In fact with the same resolution, the General Assembly in 2008 proclaimed the International Year of Languages to encourage unity in diversity and global understanding through multilingualism and multiculturalism and named UNESCO to serve as the lead agency of the year.

No doubt this initiative increased awareness regarding problems related to languages and mobilise resources and partners to support the implementation of strategies and policies for language diversity and multilingualism in several parts of the world.

We can't ignore that language is fundamental to communication of all kinds and communication plays an important role in making change and development in human society. Let us tell you that the International Year of Languages was created when linguistic diversity was increasingly threatened.

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International Mother Language Day 2022: Theme

The theme of International Mother Language Day 2022 is "Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities”.

The theme of International Mother Language Day 2020 was "Languages without borders". The theme focuses on cross-border languages and helps to preserve indigenous heritage.

International Mother Language Day 2022: Celebrations

UNESCO promotes this year’s theme “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities” and discusses the potential role of technology to advance multilingual education and support the development of quality teaching and learning for all.

This year, the webinar focuses on two main themes namely;

- Teachers role to be enhanced in promoting quality multilingual teaching and learning.

- Reflecting on technologies and its potential to support multilingual teaching and learning.

UNESCO organise several events on this day and encourage people to maintain their knowledge of their mother language and learn the use of more than one language. Several policies are also announced by the governments and non-governmental organisation to promote the learning of language and support. Various activities are also organised in schools and colleges to celebrate the diversity of languages.

Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened because several languages are disappearing. According to UNESCO, 40 percent population of the world does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Therefore, it is necessary to make progress in mother tongue-based multilingual education with the need for understanding its importance.

History: About 1952 Bengali Language Movement, Bangladesh

When India gained independence from British rule, the subcontinent of India was divided into a separate Muslim state (East Pakistan and West Pakistan) and a separate Hindu state (India). There was a cultural and lingual conflict between East Pakistan (today Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (Today Pakistan).

In 1948, the government of Pakistan declared Urdu as the national language and due to it, the tensions grew more. This decision of the government sparked several violent protests amongst the Bengali-speaking majority in East Pakistan. Some students of the University of Dhaka organised a protest with some activists on 21 February, 1952. Later that day, the police opened fire at the students, protesters and four students of the university were killed. The martyrdom of these students who fought for the Bengali language to be used as their mother language officially is remembered on International Mother Language Day.

Finally on 29 February, 1956, Bengali was recognised as the second official language of Pakistan. In 1971, East Pakistan became an independent country namely Bangladesh and Bengali became its official language.

As discussed above the General Conference of UNESCO in November 1999 declared International Mother Language Day and on 21st February 2000, the first International Mother language Day was observed.

READ| Important Days and Dates in February 2022

FAQ

When did UNESCO declare 21st February?

In November 1999, the General Conference of UNESCO declared International Mother Language Day. On 21st February 2000, the first International Mother Language Day was observed.

What is the theme of International Mother Language Day 2022?

The theme of International Mother Language Day 2022 is "Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities”.

When is International Mother Language Day observed?

International Mother Language Day is observed on 21 February to spread awareness about the importance of linguistic, cultural diversity, and multilingualism.
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