Kirk R. Person

Senior Education Consultant - SIL International

Kirk R. Person

Senior Education Consultant - SIL International

Biography

Kirk R. Person is a senior education consultant with SIL International, based in Bangkok, Thailand. He serves on the Asia-Pacific Working Group on Multilingual Education (hosted by UNESCO Bangkok), and as an advisor to the Patani Malay-Thai Multilingual Education Programme–which received the 2016 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize.

Introducing the “Bangkok Statement on Language and Inclusion”: Implications for literacy in linguistic minority and displaced communities in Asia-Pacific and beyond

Spearheaded by UNESCO Bangkok and recently endorsed by sixteen Asia-Pacific countries, the “Bangkok Statement on Language and Inclusion” is an important development in governmental commitment to including languages spoken by minority, migrant and refugee communities in the formal and informal education sectors, with particular relevance to early childhood literacy and Sustainable Development Goal Thematic Indicator 4.5.2.

The Asia-Pacific region is home to half of our planet’s 7097 languages, and over half the world’s displaced peoples. Over the past twenty years, interest in first language/mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) had grown dramatically. This has resulted in numerous MLE pilot projects in linguistic minority communities across the region, yielding rich longitudinal evidence for the validity of the MTB-MLE approach. Spearheaded by UNESCO Bangkok and endorsed by sixteen Asia-Pacific countries in November 2019, the “Bangkok Statement on Language and Inclusion” represents an important development in governmental commitment to including languages spoken by minority, migrant and refugee communities in the formal and informal sectors, with particular relevance to early childhood literacy. This paper details the development of the Bangkok Statement, and its implications for progress on Sustainable Development Goal Thematic Indicator 4.5.2: “Percentage of students in primary education whose first or home language is the language of instruction.”

All sessions by Kirk R. Person