MLE Mapping Data

Asia Multilingual Education Working Group (MLE WG)

Mapping of class-room language practises: pre-primary and primary/elementary levels

  • Develop a framework for conducting a situational analysis documenting key issues, actors and activities shaping the context for ethnolinguistic communities and MLE in the region.
  • This analysis included mapping of language and education policies and practice in the region, language use, as well as comparative information on how ethnolinguistic minorities are progressing on education and development indicators vis-à-vis majority language counterparts.
  • This analysis intended to identify what interventions are presently going on in the area of MLE, which actors are involved, and what are the results/effects. What research and resources are out there, that could support the case for MLE?

Asia MLE Working Group

is a network whose membership consists of UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations, international NGOs, and civil society organizations. The MLE Working Group is administered by APPEAL, UNESCO Bangkok.

Mother tongue or first language (L1)

is seen as a language that a speaker (a) has learnt first; (b) identifies with; (c) knows best; (d) uses most. Mother tongue is also called vernacular, native language, or home language. It should be noted that bi- or multilingual people may consider several languages their mother tongues.

Second language (L2)

is a language that is not the mother tongue of a person, but one that the speaker is required to study or use. It may be a foreign language or a language of wider communication. A second language may be a language that is not spoken in the immediate environment of the learner, or it may be one widely spoken outside the home. For ethnolinguistic minorities, the second language usually is the national or the official language, employed in contexts such as schools, interaction with government agencies, or communication with other language groups.

Non-dominant languages (NDL)

refer to “the languages or language varieties spoken in a given state that are not considered the most prominent in terms of number, prestige or official use by the government and/or the education system” (Kosonen 2010, 74). Non-dominant languages are often spoken as the first language of various ethnolinguistic minority groups.

Ethnolinguistic minority

refers to “a group of people who: (a) share a culture and/or ethnicity and/or language that distinguishes them from other groups of people; and (b) are either fewer in terms of number or less prestigious in terms of power than the predominant group(s) in the given state” (Kosonen 2010, 73).


Kosonen, Kimmo (2010) Ethnolinguistic Minorities and Non-Dominant Languages in Mainland Southeast Asian Language-in-Education Policies. In MacLeans A. Geo-JaJa & Suzanne Majhanovich (Eds.) Education, Language, and Economics: Growing National and Global Dilemmas (pp. 73-88). Rotterdam, Boston, Taipei: Sense Publishers.

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