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Literacy, Multilingual Education & Learning in Mother Tongue

Literacy is defined as the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute using printed and written materials associated with diverse contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, develop their knowledge and potential and participate fully in community and society.


“Women still account for almost two-thirds of all adults
unable to read – 515 million of them lack basic reading skills.”

A person is defined as ‘functionally literate’ when they can engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning of their group and community and also for enabling them to continue to use reading, writing and calculation for their own and the community’s development’. Up to 50% of children in Asia-Pacific Region are unable to read and understand a simple sentence by the age 10.

Learning in the mother tongue is vital, especially in primary school, to avoid knowledge gaps and increase the speed of learning and comprehension. SDG 4 thematic indicator 4.5.2. measures the share of students whose first or home language is used in education as a language of instruction. Currently, almost 40% of children don’t get education with language they understand.

“In India’s Odisha state, multilingual education covered about 1,500 primary schools and 21 tribal languages of instruction.

Just 41 countries worldwide recognize sign 18 language as an official language, of which 21 are in the European Union.

(GEM 2020)

In this page, the will be materials related to multilingual education, education on mother tongue, literacy and language education. Please share your best resources to fellow educators and educational leaders with us!

Practical tool for supporting literacy and reading is LearnBig App, which offers free access to books and teaching materials in Thai, Burmese, Karen and Malay.

Using virtual reality to help teachers better support refugee students

EdTech and the global learning crisis: Building an evidence-driven future

How to Encourage Children to Read?

Education for sustainable development for 2030 toolbox

UNESCO partners with organizations in Myanmar to facilitate learning on Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (EPSD)

Timorese teachers are pioneering a new Tetun literacy horizon

Lao PDR: Advancing young children’s learning through a TV series

Improving education with EdTech evidence

How to Give Positive Feedback on Student Writing

The Advantages of Online Language Learning

Wikipedia Launches Pilot Education Program for Digital Literacy in Moroccan Schools

‘Philippines education needs curriculum overhaul’

The Congo Illustrates The Power Of Education Through Global Collaboration

Duolingo filed to go public

Applying the 4 pillars of opportunity in literacy instruction

Mother tongue lessons need boost

How to Create a Digital Library That Kids Eat Up

How Families are Pushing Schools to Teach Reading Skills More Effectively

International Literacy Day

This Tool Has Kindergarteners Demanding More Reading and Writing Time

Key Resources

Let’s Read storybook platform

Tools for Planning and Monitoring Programmes of Multilingual Education in Asia

UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) Learning Portal, Language of instruction

Approaches to language in education for migrants and refugees in the Asia-Pacific Region

Ensuring inclusive education for ethnolinguistic minority children in the COVID-19 era: guidance note

Levels of Education

Vocational Education
Secondary Education
Primary Education
Non-Formal Education
Higher Education
Early Childhood and Pre-Primary Education