This review shows that there is evidence that girls, poor and vulnerable children stay in school longer if they are taught first in their mother tongue. Fifty percent of the world's out-of-school children live in communities where the language of schooling is rarely, if ever, used at home. The language used in schools, is one of the principal mechanisms through which inequality in education is reproduced. This underscores the biggest challenge to achieving Education for All.
Section 3 focuses on girls and it shows that girls who learn in familiar languages stay in school longer, are more likely to be identified as good students, do better on achievement tests, and repeat grades less often than girls who do not get home language instruction. This means that they are more likely to enjoy school, experience success, and perceive that schooling is relevant, which will give them the skills and confidence to continue their school careers.
Section 4 focuses on poor and vulnerable children and shows that teaching in their mother tongue means that they will stay in school for longer. Teaching in a foreign language is highly inefficient, causing repetition, failure and dropout for all but a few. There is inequality of opportunity for those children who speak minority languages and it leads learners to have low aspirations for their own educational achievement and participate unwittingly in a vicious circle of dropout and failure.
Holley, C. Helpdesk Report: Mother Tongue Education- Girls and Poor/Vulnerable Children. Human Development Resource Centre, UK (2011) 16 pp.