The Education for All movement which ended in 2015 was successful in getting millions of previously out-of-school children in school. Recent reviews related to monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals, however, show that in 2017 over 600 million children and adolescents worldwide are not achieving the minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. UNESCO and other agencies have begun to refer to the situation as “the global learning crisis”. It is surprising that inappropriate language of instruction policies are rarely listed among the reasons for this crisis. Yet, other studies show that hundreds of millions of children are taught in languages they don't necessarily understand and speak.

Multilingual education based on the languages the learner speaks at home can improve learning. Research shows that using one’s first language(s) (or mother tongues) is beneficial, as it supports all learning and helps learners reach their full potential. Other languages can be learned smoothly if the learning of those languages is based on the foundation of the learners first language. This seminar will discuss the situation of the learning crisis in the global south, discuss the basic principles of multilingual education, and also demonstrate how mother tongue-based multilingual education has been implemented in the Philippines and other countries to improve children’s learning achievement.

A review – Mother-Tongue Based Multilingual Education among Linguistic Minorities – will be published in this seminar. It provides an overview of Finland’s development cooperation and UPR recommendations on MTB MLE among linguistic minorities from 2006 to 2016. The review informs advocacy work and promotes networking and sharing information among different organizations working in this field.


  • 8.30 Morning coffee
  • 9.00 Welcoming words
    Rolf Steffansson, Executive Director, Felm TBC
  • 9.10 Which language for instruction? Multilingual education as a way to alleviate the global learning crisis
    Kimmo Kosonen, Senior Consultant in multilingual education, SIL International & Felm
  • 9.45 Recommendations
    Anniina Sandberg, Indira Helsinki
  • 10.30 Multilingual Education in the Philippines: A glimpse at the beginnings and current Status
    Romylyn A. Metila, PhD, Language Education, University of the Philippines
  • 11.00 A Comment TBC, Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Register by sending an email to Tytti Matsinen by Friday 8th December.
Tytti Matsinen (tytti [dot] matsinenatfelm [dot] org, p. 040 660 1229).

Ravintola Pääposti’s (Mannerheiminaukio, next to Kiasma) Auditorio can be accessed through C-door in the end of the building, on the side of Sanomatalo. Please use doorbell to enter. The venue is not accessible by wheelchair.

13.12.2017 | 07.00

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