The Myanmar Education Consortium (MEC) was present at the CIES 2022 conference held in Minnesota, United States this past week. On Thursday, April 21st, MEC Education Technical Lead Dho Ong Jhaan and the Shalom Foundation Languages Specialist Jasmine Williams presented their research findings to colleagues, researchers, and mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) experts in the Linguistic Opportunities panel.
Their paper titled Centering the Local in the National: Reflections on the Development of a National L1-based Multilingual Education Program in Myanmar explores the current state of L1-based multilingual education in the country and proposes more inclusive education programming that aligns with the NESP 2021-2030. Following the identification of existing language-in-education practices, the researchers led consultations with local actors to understand the on-the-ground implementation of existing modalities in order to ascertain key areas of need and to establish how these can be addressed. The researchers found that inclusion of ethnic languages as a main language of instruction (LOI) has catalysed numerous positive effects for students, teachers, and the wider ethnic communities.
Their findings illuminate how ethnic languages can be utilised and strengthened to better support ethnic children across all of Myanmar and enriches the discussion to promote languages in education in the ASEAN region for access to quality education for all.