Entrepreneurial Education in Mother Language

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On World Mother Language Day, 21 February 2022, Sheatwork puts the spotlight on the impact of conducting entrepreneurial education in the mother tongue

It is a variety of languages that holds sway across different geographies globally – the languages we speak, read, write and teach. The English language had an edge, but the strength and viability of communicating in the mother language at home, at work, at schools and colleges have been examined and set to practice too.

So, it was significant that on 17 November 1999, the 30th General Assembly of UNESCO unanimously decided that “21st February be proclaimed International Mother Language Day throughout the world to commemorate the martyrs who sacrificed their lives on this very day in 1952.” Subsequently, it was on May 16, 2007, that the United Nations General Assembly called upon member states “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. By the same resolution, they proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, to “promote unity in diversity and international understanding, through multilingualism and multiculturalism.”

In our country too, basically, to promote linguistic, cultural diversity and multilingualism around the world, International Mother Language Day or Matribhasha Diwas is observed every year on February 21. Interestingly, last year on this day, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu greeted the nation in different Indian languages, and he posted on social media – “My greetings on International #MotherLanguageDay. Linguistic diversity has always been one of the foundational pillars of our civilization. More than just a means of communication, our mother languages connect us with our heritage and define our socio-cultural identity”.

Education in the first language or mother tongue

According to UNESCO, they “believe education, based on the first language or mother tongue, must begin from the early years as early childhood care and education is the foundation of learning”.

40% of the world’s inhabitants do not have access to education in the language they speak or understand best, and it hampers their learning, as well as their access to heritage and cultural expressions. So, it is critical that education be brought within their reach. In India, which has a rich variety of languages across the states, education is conducted majorly in English in urban areas. The question of conducting education in regional languages has been debated upon; and, interestingly conducting IITs and IIMs in regional languages has also come up for debate.

Today, since India is the hub of startups, it makes sense to spread education targeted at budding entrepreneurs.   

Understanding entrepreneurial education

What is entrepreneurial education? Entrepreneurship education has been defined as “a collection of formalized teachings that informs, trains, and educates anyone interested in participating in socio-economic development through a project to promote entrepreneurship awareness, business creation, or small business development”.

The role of entrepreneurial education – to give a boost to business

Specifically, entrepreneurial education focuses on those who have the intention of taking up a project, having identified a viable business opportunity. They also would have taken specific steps to start their venture.

Unemployment is a reality today and it is of universal concern too, (of all developed and developing countries). Many policies and strategies have emerged worldwide to reduce unemployment; and notably, among the best alternative to the unemployment problem is – entrepreneurship. Plus entrepreneurship has come up as a significant generator of economic growth, innovation and creation of jobs too.  But, entrepreneurship development remains a challenge worldwide.

Significantly, one of the strategies to promote entrepreneurship is – to provide entrepreneurship education to the people to give a thrust to entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurship education equips students with the motivation, knowledge and skills that are essential for launching a successful venture.  Coming down to the details, the purpose of entrepreneurship education is to train students to acquire skills, ideas and managerial abilities; and it also brings in the concept of self-employment rather than being employed for a salary. Another objective is to help students to consider business as a career and develop a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship

So, it is essential to have the infrastructure required to facilitate an entrepreneurial mindset and encourage self-employment. Most importantly, having a culture of creating new enterprises – is a critical aspect of this infrastructure, as it will encourage students to take up the risk of starting a business, on their own.

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