World Mother Language Day: Sharmila urges early education in mother tongue

Karachi

KARACHI:On the eve of International Mother Language Day today, Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Ms Sharmila Farooqui said on Sunday that children’s primary education should begin in mother tongue as they can learn things easily.

“All governments need to take steps to ensure early education of children in mother tongue. The theme of International Mother Language Day 2021 is “fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.” It recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind. Mother tongue is vital in framing the thinking and emotions of people. Learning to speak in the mother tongue is very necessary for a child’s comprehensive development. Being fluent in the mother tongue, which is also known as the native language, benefits the child in numerous ways,” she said in a statement.

Sharmila said a child’s first comprehension of the world around him, the learning of concepts and skills, starts with the language that is first taught to him. Mother language has such an important role in framing our thinking and emotions. According to studies a child’s ability to learn an additional language greatly improves if their first language skills are well developed because children’s literacy knowledge and abilities transfer across languages from mother tongue to the language the child is learning at school. Research shows that children who have a strong foundation in their home language are more successful at school and enjoy a greater feeling of self-worth and identity.

“It is a common belief that as we move towards a society in which the medium of teaching is English, we tend to move away from our mother tongue. The first language that a baby learns right from his or her birth is termed as the birth language and thus, plays a crucial role in our lives for a wide array of reasons,” Sharmila said. Knowing your mother tongue well is a matter of pride. It boosts one’s confidence and creates awareness in the individual’s mind while also helping them connect with their cultural identity in a better manner, she added.

Sharmila said as we are moving towards a society in which English is generally the medium of teaching, it is believed that we tend to move away from the language we have been brought upon. Children’s comprehension of the world around them, learning of different concepts and skills, starts with the language first taught to them. It gives words to their emotions and thinking. It can be said to be the language of heart and mind of any human being.

The concept of “first-language-first” is the schooling done in a child’s mother language. This literacy can actually get transferred easily to other languages that are learned later. A research by Canadian scientists reveal that being exposed to a language early in life influences how a person’s brain deals with other languages learned later in life, she said.

Sharmila said language is the solid foundation of cultural heritage. Language plays two essential roles as an instrument of communication and as a mark of identity. It also offers a rich and full insight into how communities think and live as well as into the history and cultures of their people across the globe. “In our modern world, most people are multilingual and that is the result of holding on mother tongue and studying and using other languages. Multilingualism protects and nourishes the growth of culture and it can also give you a better understanding of other behavior and their way of thinking,” she stated.