Language is central to social activity, participation and the enhancement of individual and social agency. Conversely, it has also been linked to issues of exclusion and marginalization. In education, language can be a subtle but powerful tool of discrimination, if access to languages that hold symbolic value is limited to only privileged classes or if the language of the dominated class is devalued. However, the issue of languages in education is seldom discussed in relation to the millennium development goals. This policy brief is based on the findings of a 3-year RECOUP funded research project. The study compared the many ways in which language policy in education, and how languages are taught and learned in Pakistan’s schools, had affected people’s participation and empowerment. It suggests a need to enrich teacher training programmes, so as to provide greater sensitization towards class and linguistic diversity for more inclusive and positive teaching/ learning experiences.
Policy Brief No. 10, October 2010, Centre for Commonwealth Education, University of Cambridge, UK, 5 pp.