A brief progress report on activities conducted January – May 2012.
The Mother Tongue‐Based Multilingual Education pilot program is a Ministry of Education initiative aimed at improving learning outcomes at the pre‐school and early grade of primary schooling levels. In February 2011, the National Education Commission’s “Language in Education Working Group” launched its “Mother Tongue‐Based Multilingual Education –MTB‐MLE ‐ Policy for Timor‐Leste”. The policy had been commissioned some 12 months earlier by the Minister of Education, acknowledging the need for a comprehensive “language in education” policy, clearly rooted in Timor‐Leste’s educational and linguistic reality and in international best practice. The policy states that a student’s mother tongue should be used as a medium of instruction in pre‐primary education and in the first 4 years of primary schooling, thus enabling children to acquire the fundamental skills of reading and writing in the language they know best. This solid foundation in pre‐ and early literacy skills allows children to transition to the second, third and fourth languages with greater facility and speed. The National Strategic Plan 2011‐ 2030 references the policy’s recommendations on Pages 18 and 27 (Social Capital/Pre‐School Education/Social Inclusion). The policy’s Implementation Plan recommends an MTB‐MLE pilot program.