Edited by Ajit K. Mohanty, Minati Panda, Robert Philipson, Tove Skutnabb-Kangas; Orient Blackswan 1/24, Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi-110002. Rs. 675.
“Multilingual education is human rights education,” is the constant refrain of Debi Prasanna Pattanayak, one of the two “inspiring pioneer scholars,” to whom the book is dedicated. The book is a passionate call to respect and enshrine the inalienable right of all the children of the world to learn their languages and through their languages. Denial of linguistic human rights is a crime against humanity. The book is also a powerful indictment of the sinister privileging of languages like English that are marginalising and decimating humanity’s rich language resources.
This is a collection of articles by some of the leading thinkers in the emerging field of Multilingual Education (MLE), which means using two or more languages as media of learning. Many of them have also been closely associated with pioneering experiments in vastly different cultural contexts across continents, from Nordic countries to Africa, the Americas and Asia. It is of immense value to lay readers as well as experts and doers in the MLE. To the latter, it presents a critique of different paths and modes that are emerging from experiments, including those in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh (India).
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