UNESCO’s guidelines on education and language provides three basic operational principles as part of the Education for All (EFA) agenda. The second of these provisions states, “UNESCO supports bilingual and/or multilingual education at all levels of education as a means of promoting both social and gender equality and as a key element of linguistically diverse societies.” The purpose of the guidance is to further human rights in the field of education, especially education for girls, women, minorities, and the dispossessed. However, despite the auspicious and laudable goals of the UNESCO guidelines, adopted by the EFA delegates in 2003, there is substantive evidence to suggest that the foundational reasoning behind the provisions--especially the second provision--is flawed. A summary of that evidence is presented here.
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