Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Descriptions of some of the most recent books



Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove, Phillipson, Robert, Mohanty, Ajit and Panda, Minati (eds) (2009) [publication date 15 July]. Social Justice through Multilingual Education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, Series Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights.


Back cover text: We know enough about how to support children in becoming high-level multilinguals with a strong positive identity and a fair chance of achieving educational success. Still, most indigenous/tribal, minority (ITM) and marginalised children in the world do not get this mother-tongue-based multilingual education (MLE). This book asks why and shows how it CAN be done. ITM education in Canada, Finland/Norway/Sweden, India, Nepal, Peru, USA, and several African and other Asian countries is described and criticised and positive examples are celebrated. The in-depth theoretical and empirical analyses from all continents by many leading scholars in the field show the importance of the local experience and solutions in understanding the global and building more comprehensive frameworks for theory and action aiming at more social justice and equality through education.


Back cover:


“Noble in purpose, this volume contains many valuable accounts of efforts toward righting longstanding inequities of education in multilingual settings around the world -- from the highlands of Nepal and tribal language communities of India, to the Sámi lands of Scandinavia, to Native North America, and more. The authors passionately portray how very deeply languages matter, for every learner and all learners.”

Nancy H. Hornberger, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA


“This book is a wake-up call. It quashes the myth that monolingual education is the best way to progress. The book brings home the fact that the only way to arrest our shrinking knowledge-base is to impart multilingual education as an undivided whole, each language complementing and empowering the other.”

Professor Anvita Abbi, Chairperson, Centre for Linguistics, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi


“Social Justice through Multilingual Education places education centre stage in the demand for justice and rights for minority languages peoples. With a wealth of international examples, the book integrates boundary-breaking ideas about multilingual education with the movement for retaining linguistic diversity and achieving social justice for language minorities. A remarkable collection of papers written by many highly-respected authors makes this book essential reading.”

Professor Colin Baker, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Bangor University


“An extremely timely work, wide-ranging in its scope and depth, which addresses directly a still surprisingly controversial topic: the indisputable value of education in one’s own language.”

Fernand de Varennes, Associate Professor, School of Law, Murdoch University, and Senior Research Associate (Non-resident) at the European Centre for Minority Issues.


“This book, edited and co-authored by some of the leading thinkers and doers in the MLE (Multilingual Education) enterprise, maps the different paths MLE has taken in extremely diverse local contexts on every continent. The book also promotes the cause of indigenous peoples’ social, economic and political rights - a struggle that needs far more public attention and support than it has received.”

Probal Dasgupta, Head, Linguistic Research Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.


“The book is a passionate call to respect and enshrine the inalienable right of all the children of the world to learn their languages and through their languages. The book is also a powerful indictment of the sinister privileging of languages like English that are marginalising and decimating humanity’s rich language resources. The book resonates with the contemporary Indian scene, where language, particularly as a medium of learning, has become a fiercely contested terrain.”

V. Vasanthi Devi, The Hindu, 11 August 2009