MLE WG 4th International Conference on Language and Education 2013

  • Conference Call
  • From 6 – 8 Novem­ber 2013, the Asia Mul­ti­lin­gual Edu­ca­tion Work­ing Group (MLE WG) is con­ven­ing the Fourth Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Lan­guage and Edu­ca­tion – Mul­ti­lin­gual Edu­ca­tion for All in Asia and the Pacific: Poli­cies, Prac­tices and Processes in Bangkok, Thai­land.

    The con­fer­ence brings together MLE part­ners to increase under­stand­ing of the impor­tance of expand­ing access to effec­tive MLE and strengthen momen­tum for MLE in the Asia-​Pacific region. The con­fer­ence will facil­i­tate the exchange of effec­tive prac­tices and expe­ri­ences, link MLE the­ory to prac­tice and fos­ter pol­icy dia­logue. The con­fer­ence will serve as a plat­form for forward-​looking debate and the shap­ing of effec­tive edu­ca­tion poli­cies and pro­grams for the post-​2015 agenda.

    Con­fer­ence Theme

    Lan­guage is key to inclu­sive devel­op­ment. For all eth­no­lin­guis­tic com­mu­ni­ties, access to edu­ca­tion in their first lan­guage is cru­cial to over­com­ing a vicious cycle of mar­gin­al­iza­tion and discrimination.

    Expan­sion of access to mother tongue-​based mul­ti­lin­gual edu­ca­tion (MLE) increas­ingly has been rec­og­nized as part of the Edu­ca­tion for All (EFA) process, par­tic­u­larly in Asia and the Pacific. Sev­eral coun­tries in the region are insti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing mul­ti­lin­gual edu­ca­tion in their edu­ca­tion sys­tems through early child­hood, pri­mary, and adult edu­ca­tion and learn­ing. How­ever, despite the grow­ing trend of pro­vid­ing mul­ti­lin­gual edu­ca­tion, many coun­tries are expe­ri­enc­ing chal­lenges in imple­ment­ing and expand­ing MLE pro­grams. In order to build national and local capac­ity in design­ing, imple­ment­ing and mon­i­tor­ing MLE pro­grams in the region, the Asia Mul­ti­lin­gual Edu­ca­tion Work­ing Group has orga­nized a series of inter­na­tional con­fer­ences with focus on MLE.


    • To show­case promis­ing prac­tices so as to increase under­stand­ing of the impor­tance of expand­ing access to effec­tive MLE and strengthen the momen­tum for MLE in the Asi­a­Pa­cific region.
    • To adopt a com­mon def­i­n­i­tion of MLE and enhance under­stand­ing of its char­ac­ter­is­tics in the Asian context;
    • To sup­port the main­stream­ing of MLE by show­cas­ing recent pol­icy devel­op­ments in the Asia-​Pacific region;
    • To deter­mine the fac­tors that enable effec­tive, effi­cient and sus­tain­able MLE by shar­ing chal­lenges and lessons learned from cur­rent MLE practice;
    • To iden­tify promis­ing prac­tices in mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­at­ing MLE;
    • To expand the role of the Asia-​Pacific Regional MLE Net­work and increase syn­er­gies among actors around the region and the world to pro­mote MLE.


    Mul­ti­lin­gual edu­ca­tion: what and why

    Objec­tive: To increase gen­eral under­stand­ing of MLE, and adopt a com­mon def­i­n­i­tion of MLE that is rel­e­vant in the Asian con­text (based on thor­ough dis­cus­sion and revi­sion of a back­ground paper pro­vided by the Asia MLE WG).

    Some ques­tions to be addressed:

    • How can the the­o­ries on bilingual/​multilingual edu­ca­tion, mother tongue instruc­tion, and lan­guage acqui­si­tion inform teach­ing and learn­ing prac­tice in Asian contexts?
    • How is MLE con­cep­tu­al­ized and under­stood in dif­fer­ent contexts?
    • What do first lan­guage, home lan­guage and mother tongue mean in dif­fer­ent contexts?
    • How are MLE prin­ci­ples applied at dif­fer­ent lev­els of edu­ca­tion: 1) early child­hood edu­ca­tion; 2) pri­mary edu­ca­tion; and 3) adult edu­ca­tion and learning?
    • What are the dif­fer­ences and sim­i­lar­i­ties of MLE in var­i­ous sys­tems of education?
    • What are the roles of lan­guage and lit­er­acy in MLE?
    • What are the sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences of bilin­gual and mul­ti­lin­gual edu­ca­tion in gen­eral as well as mother tongue-​based MLE?
    • What are the key issues and chal­lenges involved in the con­cept of MLE?

    Towards Sound MLE Pol­icy: Lan­guage and Language-​in-​Education Pol­icy and Plan­ning in Asia and the Pacific

    Objec­tive: To dis­cuss recent pol­icy devel­op­ments related to MLE, par­tic­u­larly in Asia and the Pacific, and to learn from and build on these devel­op­ments so lan­guage and language-​in-​education poli­cies can be strength­ened through­out the region.

    Some ques­tions to be addressed:

    • What are the essen­tial com­po­nents of sound MLE poli­cies in dif­fer­ent contexts?
    • What kinds of pos­i­tive pol­icy devel­op­ments (towards increased lat­i­tude for MLE) have taken place over the past decade in the Asia-​Pacific region?
    • What are the crit­i­cal and ana­lyt­i­cal per­spec­tives on the socio-​political land­scapes affect­ing language-​in-​education policies?
    • Who are the key insti­tu­tions and decision-​makers affect­ing language-​in-​education policies?
    • How do the issues of rights, equity and diver­sity inform the stan­dards and leg­isla­tive man­dates on lan­guage in edu­ca­tion policies?
    • What are the key issues and chal­lenges in devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing pro-​MLE language-​in-​education policies?

    Deliv­er­ing Qual­ity and Inclu­sive MLE: Teach­ers, Ped­a­gogy and Innovations

    Objec­tive: To dis­cuss lessons learned and chal­lenges of mul­ti­lin­gual edu­ca­tion ini­tia­tives in early child­hood edu­ca­tion, pri­mary edu­ca­tion, and adult learn­ing, and to deter­mine the fac­tors that influ­ence qual­ity edu­ca­tion deliv­ery in mul­ti­lin­gual con­texts.

    Some ques­tions to be addressed:

    • How do we ensure the effec­tive­ness, effi­ciency, rel­e­vance and sus­tain­abil­ity of qual­ity MLE pro­grams, from early child­hood to life­long learning?
    • How can teacher train­ing pro­grams, mate­ri­als, and school man­age­ment in gen­eral pro­mote qual­ity MLE teach­ing practices?
    • How should MLE pro­grams be designed to respond to best prac­tices described in lan­guage acqui­si­tion theories?
    • What is the role of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies in expand­ing MLE with equity?
    • What means are used to attract gov­ern­ments and com­mu­ni­ties to develop and retain qual­ity teach­ing forces for minor­ity languages?
    • What are the roles of com­mu­nity and local organizations?
    • How can MLE be insti­tu­tion­al­ized in cul­tur­ally appro­pri­ate ways?
    • What are the chal­lenges involved in improv­ing over­all teach­ing and learn­ing prac­tices for MLE in the class­rooms? How can we over­come these challenges?

    Mea­sur­ing Impact

    Objec­tive: To iden­tify good prac­tices in mon­i­tor­ing and mea­sur­ing the effec­tive­ness of MLE-​related inter­ven­tions in schools and com­mu­ni­ties, as well as to take stock of emerg­ing evi­dence on the impact of MLE on learn­ing and the Mil­len­nium Devel­op­ment Goals (MDGs).

    Some ques­tions to be addressed:

    • What tools and method­olo­gies can be uti­lized to mon­i­tor and mea­sure the effec­tive­ness of MLE?
    • What are some of the promis­ing prac­tices in ana­lyz­ing the cost and ben­e­fits of MLE?
    • What do we know about the effects of MLE on learn­ing, in terms of com­pe­ten­cies in language(s), aca­d­e­mic and non-​academic outcomes?
    • How can MLE pro­mote pos­i­tive socio-​cultural out­comes in schools, com­mu­ni­ties and beyond?
    • What roles can the var­i­ous stake­hold­ers (gov­ern­ments, schools, com­mu­ni­ties, and other orga­ni­za­tions) play in part­ner­ing together to define, mon­i­tor and mea­sure MLE?
    • What has been the impact of MLE on the attain­ment of inter­na­tional devel­op­ment goals such as MDGs, and on well-​being?

    Ple­nary Speakers

    We are excited to announce the fol­low­ing con­firmed ple­nary speakers:

    • Prof. Joseph Lo Bianco (Australia)
    • Prof. Jim Cum­mins (Video Pre­sen­ta­tion) (Canada)
    • Prof. Fer­nand de Varennes (Aus­tralia and Canada)
    • Prof. Anwei Feng (China and the United Kingdom)
    • Con­gress­man Mag­tang­gol T. Guni­gundo I (The Philippines)
    • Prof. Kath­leen Heugh (Aus­tralia and South Africa)
    • Prof. Minati Panda (India)
    • Prof. Suwilai Prem­sri­rat (Thailand)


    A lim­ited num­ber of schol­ar­ships are avail­able for par­tic­i­pants who are able to demon­strate their finan­cial need as well as abil­ity to bring rel­e­vant exper­tise and diverse per­spec­tives to the con­fer­ence. Schol­ar­ship appli­ca­tion dead­line has been extended to 21 June 2013. All suc­cess­ful appli­cants will be noti­fied by 31 July 2013. Please sub­mit your schol­ar­ship appli­ca­tion form to the fol­low­ing address by 1 June 2013: scholarships.​mleconf2​0​1​3​@​gmail.​com

    Please down­load the schol­ar­ship appli­ca­tion form in pdf or in word.

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