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RepresentatInternational Mother Tongue Day 2013 marked in Vietnamives from relevant agencies, donors and international partners, students, teachers and parents attended the International Mother Tongue Day 2013 in Hanoi on February 21.

The event aims to share knowledge of traditional languages, as well as improve the quality of education and welfare for children and the broader community.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thi Nghia emphasized that native languages are a resource for each community. In performing everday functions such as communications skills, information dissemination, and education, mother tongues have greatly contributed to the development of each individual and community.

In a message to mark the event, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said the organisation has encouraged teaching of traditional languages, contributing to a reduction in illiteracy and improvements in the quality of education. Preserving languages has also helped confer valuable knowledge to the next generations.

Language is a means to help us in communicating and sharing our ideas and it is also a valuable source for integration into society, she said.

Representatives from relevant agencies agreed that the use of their mother tongue has enabled students to achieve higher academic results, said chief representative of UNICEF in Vietnam, Hartmut Pfortner.

Vietnam education institutions have some experience in employing the native language of ethnic minority students in the classroom. With the support of UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and Training has implemented an initiative on bilingual education based on students’ mother tongue in several primary schools and kindergartens in the Lao Cai, Gia Lai and Tra Vinh provinces since 2008.

International Mother Tongue Day was launched by UNESCO in 1999 and is held annually on February 21.

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