Tania, R. (2010). A multilingual language-in-education policy for indigenous minorities in Bangladesh: challenges and possibilities. Current Issues in Language Planning, 11(4), 341 — 359.
Abstract as provided by the author via Taylor and Francis:
Bangladesh is one of the poorest nations in the world – a country in which 98% of the people speak the national language Bangla and identify themselves as Bangladeshi nationals. There are also 45 or more indigenous groups which form linguistic minorities in the country, speaking more than 30 different languages, and ethno-linguistically different from the majority of the Bangla-speaking population. The country’s educational policies have, until recently, ignored language issues in relation to the ethno-linguistic minorities. The National Education Policy 2009 (Final) proposes a first-language-based education policy for the indigenous minorities in the country. Considering the current language policy and planning context of Bangladesh, this paper examines major challenges to the implementation of a multilingual language-in-education policy for linguistic minorities in a country where a single language is spoken by a vast majority of people and is also the focus of the country’s national language policy. Besides investigating the challenges, the paper also considers ways to overcome them. In short, the paper seeks answers to two major questions: (1) What are the challenges that stand in the way of implementing a first-language-based multilingual language-in-education policy in Bangladesh?; and (2) How can these challenges be overcome?