UNESCO supports mother-tongue instruction as a means of improving educational quality by building upon the knowledge and experience of the learners and teachers.
1) Mother-tongue instruction is essential for initial instruction and literacy and should be extended to as late a stage as possible.
2) Literacy can only be maintained if there is an adequate supply of reading material, for adolescents and adults as well as for school children.
3) [All] educational planning should include at each stage early provision for training, and further training, of sufficient numbers of fully competent and qualified teachers of the country concerned who are familiar with the life of their people and able to teach in the mother tongue.
UNESCO supports bilingual and/or multilingual education at all levels of education as a means of promoting both social and gender equality, and as a key element of linguistically diverse societies.
1) Communication, expression and the capacity to listen and dialogue [should be encouraged] first of all in the mother tongue, then, [if the mother tongue is different from the official or national languages] in the official [or national] language in the country, as well as in one or more foreign languages.
2) Emphasis should be given to the formulation of strong national policies designed to promote…languages teaching in cyberspace [and strengthening and extension of international support and assistance to developing countries] to facilitate the development of freely accessible materials on language education in the electronic form and to enhance human capital skills in this area.
UNESCO supports language as an essential component of inter-cultural education in order to encourage understanding between different population groups and ensure respect for fundamental rights.
1) Measures should be taken to eliminate discrimination in education at all levels on the basis of gender, race, language, religion, national origin, age or disability or any other factor.
2) The educational rights of persons belonging to… minorities, as well as indigenous peoples, should be fully respected through:
* the implementation of the right to learn in the mother tongue and the full use of culturally-appropriate teaching methods of communication and transmission
* the teaching of and through, not only the MT, but also the national or official languages…so that minorities and indigenous peoples will have the opportunity
to participate in and contribute to the larger community.
3) Education should raise awareness of the positive value of cultural [and linguistic] diversity, and to this end:
* Curriculum [should] promote a realistic and positive inclusion of the minority [or indigenous] history, culture, language and identity.
* The cultural component of language teaching and learning should be strengthened in order to gain a deeper understanding of other cultures; languages should not be simple linguistic exercises, but opportunities to reflect on other ways of life, other literature, and other customs.