Early Literacy and Multilingual Education in South Asia
This report analyzes the varying language situations in South Asia and the existing policies and practices regarding languages as the medium of instruction and as subjects in primary education curriculum. It outlines a set of research-driven principles and guidance of multilingual education and appropriate approaches in varying sociolinguistic contexts.
The study is based on a literature review of early literacy and multilingual education, surveys of students’ literacy achievements in primary grades, analysis of sociolinguistic situations, and policy and program documents from the countries in the region. The study highlights the importance of using mother-tongue-based multilingual education. It indicates that when children study through their first language (home language or mother tongue) for several years, they are likely to perform better at learning additional languages and other subjects, compared with children who study through a second or unfamiliar language as the medium of instruction.