Mother tongue medium education essential
Thème 1 – Mesures législatives qui rendraient l’éducation plus accessible
According to a huge body of international research mother-tongue medium (MTM) education is the single most effective means of improving school completion rates for Indigenous Peoples. In producing or maintaining child speakers it also has enormous potential for maintaining and/or revitalizing Indigenous cultures. As well, Canada’s refusal to guarantee First Nations peoples the right to MTM education has continued the assault on First Nations languages and cultures that began in the residential school era. As such it constitutes a serious violation of international linguistic rights instruments and standards. (See forwarded article by Skutnabb-Kangas and Robert Dunbar) As well the failure to offer at least the option of MTM education to First Nations youth is now understood to be a serious barrier to accessibility to education for Indigenous youth. It is enormously disturbing that a country which touts bilingualism should support the right to MTM education, but only for the languages of the immigrant society, and not at all for the original languages of this land. It is also tragic insofar as this path will insure that at least half or more of our children will continue to be pushed out of school, and that our cultures, which are embodied in our languages, will be largely extinguished in a generation or two since there are almost no child speakers of most Indigenous languages in Canada at present. As jurisdictions such as Nepal, Norway, Papua New Guinea and Hawaii have shown however, MTM education has produced enormous benefits both for Indigenous Peoples and the larger society. Clearly, legislation is desperately needed to guarantee equal linguistic rights for First Nations Peoples. As well, it would be much cheaper to provide MTM education in the long term than to pay the huge and escalating social costs arising from low school completion rates. If Canada areally cared about First Nations cultures, languages and peoples, it would do something very soon, while there still are some fluent speakers in most First Nations. Note: I had hoped to attach more articles including a resolution passed by the AFN a year ago, but your site does not allow me to do so.
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