DİYARBAKIR – Co-chair of Eğitim Sen Diyarbakır No 1 branch, Hatice Efe, stated mother language is recognised as a fundamental right in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and said; “The government violates the right of every single child by banning languages. This monist understanding must be abandoned immediately and a solution to include all languages and identities should be offered.”
University students who tried to keep the Bengal language alive were massacred while protesting for an official recognition of the language in Pakistan on February 21, 1952. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared February 21 International Mother Language Day in 1999 based on the resistance of peoples against the sovereign mindsets that do not recognize multilingualism and multiculturalism.
‘Mother Language is the first bond a person establishes with the world’
Remarking that mother language is the first bond that a person establishes with the world, Hatice said an individual could gain an identity, become socialized and learn values through mother language. She continued; “Especially when we look at the field of education, we see that children’s comprehension of first skills and abstract and concrete concepts are all consolidated through mother language. Children are subject to another language at the most critical period when there is no education in mother language. This causes an identity crisis, exclusion, alienation and unsociability. It affects academic success as well.”
Pointing out that education in mother language is an applicable right, Hatice added; “This is not rediscovering America. When we look at Sweden, Finland, England, we can see that multilinguistic education is offered and languages are kept alive and protected. We won’t be the first ones to do this. We are not talking about an education at primary schools alone. A sense of education that also includes university education should be developed. Besides, we say that it should be used in public spaces and health service areas, made into the language of living.”