Minister Bourne-Gumbs says language is the most powerful instrument in preserving tangible and intangible heritage

Saturday, 21 February marks International Mother Language Day.  The day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations (UN) Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999.


Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs, on Thursday said 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of International Mother Language Day.


The theme for the international day is: ‘Inclusion in and through education: Language counts.’


“Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing tangible and intangible heritage.  All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will not only serve to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education, but would also develop more awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions,” Minister of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs said on the eve of the international day.


On 16 May, 2007, the UN General Assembly called upon member States to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world, and to promote unity in diversity and international understanding, through multilingualism and multiculturalism.


International Mother Language day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.


The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.