We ignore a world of languages at our peril

Just imagine it’s your first day at school and the teachers speak an unfamiliar language and learning materials are in a foreign language. Just imagine how difficult it would be to stay motivated and keep up. Would this seem fair to you? Does this represent equality of opportunity to you?

Clearly, not. And yet, this is reality for children in every corner of the world.

Worldwide there are some 7000 mother tongues. While the UN has encouraged mother tongue instruction since the 1950s, implementation is rare. The result is lost opportunities, wasted talent, marginalisation, exploitation, ignorance, as well as massive and growing inequality.

The result is a systematic human rights failure. Generations of people grow up failed by their education systems from day one.

A failure of pandemic proportions, hundreds of millions of children cheated daily. Going back generations and likely to continue unabated unless we act now.

Respect for cultural and linguistic diversity is a source for global unity.