Language of instruction in Southeast Asia

Autor(es): Kosonen, Kimmo

Date: 2017

Pages: 22 p.

Serie: Background paper prepared for the 2017/8 Global Education Monitoring Report Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments


Southeast Asian language of instruction policies have traditionally emphasized the official and national languages. However, over the past two decades, a movement towards multilingual education (MLE) has arisen in the region. Currently, policy support for the use of minority learners’ home languages differs widely between Southeast Asian nations. Multilingual education which includes learners’ home language is increasing in Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam. This background paper commissioned by the Global Education Monitoring Report attempts to: 1) present the development of language policies in primary and secondary education in the 11 countries of Southeast Asia; 2) review the implementation of these policies and challenges encountered; 3) estimate the percentage of Southeast Asian children who have access to education in their home or first languages; and 4) recommend next steps for monitoring of the language of instruction issues in the region.

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