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Thursday, 18 February 2021

Celebrating Mother Language Day

SPECIAL DAY: International Mother Language Day is observed on 21 February. SPECIAL DAY: International Mother Language Day is observed on 21 February.

The Language Working Group at CPUT's commitment to multilingualism aligns with that of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), who is observing International Mother Language (IML) Day by hosting a virtual event themed Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.

While IML Day is observed on 21 February, the webinar will be held at 11:00 today.

For more information, visit 

To register for the webinar, click here

In 1999 UNESCO declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day. The date was chosen because it commemorates the students killed during a protest in Bangladesh in 1952. They were part of a group campaigning for the official use of Bengali as their mother language.

According to UNESCO 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.

This year’s theme, Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society, recognises that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind. As recently reported on the South African government’s website, linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages disappear. One language disappears on average every two weeks, taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. It is estimated that 230 languages became extinct between 1950 and 2010.

“While our region’s indigenous languages, isiXhosa and Afrikaans are nowhere near danger of extinction, the Language Working Group still values drawing attention to the use of these languages. In 2020 CPUT had an online “Can you say” campaign to encourage students and staff to practice easy conversational phrases in our 11 official languages. This year we wear our hearts on our sleeves by telling you a little bit about our language journeys and language dreams for CPUT,” states the Language Working Group.

You can read more about this and the Faculty of Applied Sciences’ Mother Language Day virtual event on the Language Unit blog

Written by CPUT News