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Edn should be in mother language with option to learn other languages: PM

Staff Reporter:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said that the medium of education in educational institutions should be everyone’s mother tongue.

“I think that our medium of education should be in our mother tongue. Besides, there should be scope to learn other languages too,” she said.

The premier said this while inaugurating a four-day programme of the International Mother Language Institute at Segunbagicha to mark Martyrs’ Day and International Mother Language Day 2024.

She said that for education, the mother tongue is the most important thing.

“That’s what I trust. If anyone gets education through their mother tongue, then receiving that education, knowing that education, and understanding that education would become much easier,” she said.

But she said that at work, the whole world is now so close to each other that learning other languages is also needed.

Sheikh Hasina said that as the children of the country are very meritorious, it would not be a hard task for them to learn two or three languages.

She mentioned that in many countries around the world, this kind of system is present.

“As we have fought for our mother tongue, I think our medium of education should be the mother tongue, and this should start at the primary level,” the PM said.

“If this learning process does not start at the primary level, the children will not be capable of receiving it properly.” “This way, the path to acquiring knowledge will be easier and wider.”

She criticised the mentality of a section of parents who put their children in English-medium schools without their mother tongue.

She also expressed dissatisfaction that a section of people in the country now pronounce Bangla in an English accent, which sounds very ridiculous.

Hasina, also chief patron of the institute, recalled the contribution of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to the Language Movement in 1952.

She also emphasised preserving, practising and strengthening her own mother tongue, urging all to spread Bangla art, literature, and others all over the world through proper translation.

“Our art and literature have to spread all over the world through proper translation, alongside preserving our mother tongue, practising our mother tongue, and strengthening our mother tongue,” she said.

She mentioned that it is the duty of all to highlight the fact that the Bangalee nation has sacrificed life for its language.

“The more our art, literature, and writings are translated into different languages in different countries of the world, the more the people of the world will know, understand, and learn about Bangladesh and the Bangalee nation.”

She also observed that the art and literature of different countries can be understood in the Bangla language so easily, which is not possible in other languages.

So, the culture, literature, or history of different countries in the world should be translated into Bangla to be understood in a better way, she added.

The PM said that the International Mother Language Institute (IMLI) and the Bangla Academy should work together.

“When we established this institute, we had in mind that if Bangla Academy and the institute work together, we will know art and literature more and more,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said that every nation must preserve its own mother tongue.

“With that goal in mind, we have established the institute. The institute has been upgraded to category II by UNESCO,” she said.

Education Minister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, Prime Minister’s Education and Cultural Affairs Advisor Dr. Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, State Minister for Primary and Mass Education and Member of Parliament Rumana Ali, and Head of the Office and UNESCO Representative to Bangladesh Susan Maree Vize spoke on the occasion.

Secretary of the Secondary and Higher Education Division Suleman Khan gave the welcome address.

Professor Dr. Shisir Bhattacharja of the Institute of Modern Languages of Dhaka University presented the keynote paper.

Director General of the International Mother Language Institute Professor Dr Hakim Arif delivered the vote of thanks.

The Prime Minister also distributed prizes and certificates among the winners of the Linguistics Olympiad organised by the International Mother Language Institute.

At the outset, the premier laid a foundation stone for “Mujib 100 Years Museum and Archive” on the premises of the International Mother Language Institute.

Sheikh Hasina also unveiled covers of “Oshomapto Attojiboni” (The Unfinished Memoirs) translated into ethnic minority languages, Matrybhasha Pedia and Marty Lingual Pocket Dictionary at the ceremony.

At the outset of the programme, a one-minute silence was observed to show respect to the language movement heroes for their sacrifice.

Children from different languages greeted the Prime Minister in their mother tongues on the occasion of International Mother Language Day.

At the ceremony, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Bangladesh Susan Vize presented a UNESCO Category-II contract renewal document to the Prime Minister.

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