Multilingual Education for Social Justice: Globalising the Local
Ajit K. Mohanty, Minati Panda, Robert Phillipson, Tove Skutnabb-Kangas (Eds.)
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

The principles for enabling children to become fully proficient multilinguals through schooling are well known. Even so, most indigenous/tribal, minority and marginalised children are not provided with appropriate mother-tongue-based multilingual education (MLE) that would enable them to succeed in school and society. Experts from all continents ask why, and show how it CAN be done. The book discusses general principles and challenges in depth and presents case studies from Canada and the USA, northern Europe, Peru, Africa, India, Nepal and elsewhere in Asia. Analysis by leading scholars in the field shows the importance of building on local experience. Sharing local solutions globally can lead to better theory, and to action for more social justice and equality through education.

Ajit K. Mohanty is a Professor of Psychology (and former Chairperson) at the Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has published in the areas of psycholinguistics, multilingualism and multilingual education focusing on education, poverty and disadvantage among linguistic minorities. He has been a Professor since 1983, and Chairperson at the Centre of Advanced Study in Psychology, Utkal University and President of the National Academy of Psychology, India (1997). He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Killam Scholar (University of Alberta), Senior Fellow (Central Institute of Indian Languages), Visiting Scholar (Universities of Geneva and Chicago) and Fulbright Visiting Professor (Columbia University). His books include Bilingualism in a Multilingual Society, Psychology of Poverty and Disadvantage (co-editor: G. Misra)and Perspectives on Indigenous Psychology (co-editor: G. Misra). He has written the chapters on Language Acquisition and Bilingualism (co-author: Christian Perregaux) in the Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology (2nd edition) and on Multilingual Education in India in the Encyclopedia of Language and Education (eds J.Cummins & N.H. Hornberger). He is in the Editorial Boards of International Journal of Multilingualism, Language Policy and Psychological Studies. Ajit Mohanty teaches an M.Phil. level course on Multilingualism and Education in India at JNU.

Minati Panda is an Associate Professor of the Social Psychology of Education at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She is a cultural psychologist with special interests in culture, cognition and mathematics. Her research and publications are mostly in the areas of mathematical discourse and learning, curricular and pedagogic issues and social exclusion. She has been working on mathematical notions and their socio-cultural embedding among the Saoras and other tribes in India. She has studied extensively over the past decade the everyday discourse and school mathematics discourse in tribal areas of Orissa and has tried to theorise the common epistemological ground of these two discursive practices in formal classrooms. Her book on “Meaning Making in Ethnomathematics” is under publication. She has been a Fulbright Senior Fellow in the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, University of California, San Diego and a Witkin-Okonji awardee of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology. Prior to joining JNU, Dr. Panda was a Consultant for Tribal Education in the District Primary Education Programme, India and a Faculty in Tribal Education in National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). She is also the Co-Director of the MLE Plus Project.

Robert Phillipson is a graduate of Cambridge and Leeds Universities, UK, and has a doctorate from the Faculty of Education of the University of Amsterdam. He worked for the British Council in Spain, Algeria, Yugoslavia and London before settling in Denmark. He is a Professor Emeritus at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. His main publications include Learner language and language learning (with Claus Færch and Kirsten Haastrup, Multilingual Matters, 1984), Linguistic imperialism (Oxford University Press, 1992, also published in China and India), Linguistic human rights: overcoming linguistic discrimination, edited with Tove Skutnabb-Kangas (Mouton de Gruyter, 1994); Language: a right and a resource, edited with Miklós Kontra, Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Tibor Várady (Central European University Press, 1999); Rights to language: equity, power and education(as editor, Lawrence Erlbaum, 2000); English-only Europe? Challenging language policy (Routledge, 2003). Linguistic imperialism continued (Orient Blackswan, in press) is a collection of articles and book reviews written over a decade. He has lectured worldwide, and had attachments to universities in Australia, Hungary, India, and the UK. See

Tove Skutnabb-Kangas is actively involved with minorities’ struggle for language rights since five decades. Her main research interests are in linguistic human rights, linguistic genocide, linguicism, MLE, linguistic imperialism and the subtractive spread of English, and the relationship between linguistic and cultural diversity and biodiversity. She has written/edited around fifty books and monographs and around 400 book chapters and scientific articles in 32 languages. Among her books in English are Bilingualism or Not – the Education of Minorities (1984); Minority Education: from Shame to Struggle, ed. with Jim Cummins (1988); Linguistic Human Rights. Overcoming Linguistic Discrimination, ed. with Robert Phillipson (1994); Language: A Right and a Resource. Approaching Linguistic Human Rights ed. with Miklós Kontra, Robert Phillipson and Tibor Várady (1999); Linguistic Genocide in Education - or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights? (2000); Sharing a World of Difference. The Earth's Linguistic, Cultural, and Biological Diversity (with Luisa Maffi and David Harmon, 2003) and Imagining Multilingual Schools: Language in Education and Glocalization, ed. with Ofelia García and María Torres-Guzmán (2006). Tove has been involved in the Indian and Nepali projects described in this book since their planning phases. She lives on a small organic farm in Denmark with  her husband Robert Phillipson. See

Part I: Introduction
Editors’ Foreword 3
1. Ajit K. Mohanty
Multilingual Education—a bridge too far? 5
Part II: Multilingual Education: Approaches and Constraints
2. Jim Cummins
Fundamental psychological and sociological principles underlying educational success for linguistic minority students 21
3. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas
MLE for global justice: Issues, approaches, opportunities 36
4. Carol Benson
Designing effective schooling in multilingual contexts: The strengths and limitations of bilingual ‘models’60
Part III: Global and Local Tensions and Promises in MLE
5. Robert Phillipson
The tension between linguistic diversity and dominant English 79
6. Kathleen Heugh
Literacy and bi/multilingual education in Africa: Recovering collective memory and knowledge 95
7. Teresa McCarty
Empowering Indigenous languages—What can be learned from Native American experiences? 114
8. Ofelia García
Education, multilingualism and translanguaging in the 21st century 128
9. David Hough, Ram Bahadur Thapa Magar and Amrit Yonjan-Tamang
Privileging Indigenous Knowledges: Empowering MLE in Nepal 146
10. Shelley K. Taylor
The caste system approach to multilingualism in Canada: Linguistic and cultural minority children in French immersion 162
Part IV: MLE in Theory and Practice—Diversity in Indigenous Experience
11. Susanne Jacobsen Pérez
The contribution of postcolonial theory to intercultural bilingual education in Peru: An Indigenous teacher training programme 183
12. Andrea Bear Nicholas
Reversing language shift through a Native language immersion teacher-training programme in Canada 200
13. Ulla Aikio-Puoskari
The ethnic revival, language and education of the Sámi, an Indigenous people, in three Nordic countries (Finland, Norway and Sweden) 216
Part V: MLE in Theory and Practice—Diversity in South Asian Tribal Experience
14. Amrit Yonjan-Tamang, David Hough and Iina Nurmela
‘All Nepalese children have the right to education in their mother tongue’—but how? The Nepal MLE Programme 241
15. Dhir Jhingran
Hundreds of home languages in the country and many in most  classrooms—coping with diversity in primary education in India 250
16. Rama Kant Agnihotri
Multilinguality and a new world order 268
17. Ajit Mohanty, Mahendra Kumar Mishra, N. Upender Reddy and Gumidyal Ramesh
Overcoming the language barrier for tribal children: MLE in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, India 278
Part VI: Analysing Prospects for MLE to Increase Social Justice
18. Minati Panda and Ajit K. Mohanty
Language matters, so does culture: beyond the rhetoric of culture in multilingual education 295
19. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Robert Phillipson, Minati Panda, Ajit K. Mohanty
MLE concepts, goals, needs and expense: English for all or achieving justice? 313
About the authors 335
References 343
Index 387

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