On 21 February, the company hosted a celebration event commemorating International Mother Language Day.
The event was held at Sibane Hotel in Zulwini. It attracted over 100 people, including dignitaries from the Ministry of Education and Training, members of the Siswati Board, UNESCO representatives and the inspectorate, teachers and learners. Every February 21st, International Mother Language Day is observed globally, promoting the awareness and importance of linguistic and cultural diversity.
This year, UNESCO focused on the fight against a global learning crisis calling on all countries to ensure that children are taught in their mother tongue. According to Nelisiwe Ndwandwe, representing the Director General, “It is important that the language issue be taken into account in the necessary exercise of transformation education supported by UNESCO.”
The International Decade of Indigenous Languages, spearheaded by UNESCO, is an important avenue for the world communities to mobilise to safeguard a major part of the world’s cultural diversity. These were the sentiments of the speech from the Director General.
Sibusiso Simelane, Macmillan’s Publishing Manager, when speaking on behalf of the Managing Director of Macmillan, said it was important to preserve siSwati, which is in danger of becoming extinct. He said it was due to reasons like this that UNESCO declared 2023-2032 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages: to preserve languages and prevent their extinction. He said this year’s theme states that being multilingual is one of the greatest developments in every country.
Macmillan, as a company, finds it befitting to commemorate such a significant day with the global community. This year’s theme for the day is well-aligned with the company’s Digital Strategy, which aims to digitalise most publications to support blended learning.
The company has embarked on a mission of introducing e-publications, and two schools have been used as pilot schools for the project. Using the mother tongue in the early learning grades must be considered; thus, Macmillan seeks to include siSwati in all its digital platforms for education purposes. The incorporation of siSwati will enable the smooth adoption of the company’s digital platform Altura. The Principal Secretary was very pleased with Macmillan’s digital innovations and the company’s unending eagerness and love for advancing learning in the country.
The director of the siSwati Language Board, Mrs Thandi Khumalo, forwarded sincere gratitude towards Macmillan Education Eswatini for arranging such an amazing event commemorating the mother tongue. She stated that language is critical since it is a communication medium for cultural transformation.
As a corporate, celebrating such a globally observed day has many benefits. The day was graced by the Principal Secretary from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Education and Training, the Director of the National Curriculum Centre, and many other dignified stakeholders. The event bore fruit by strengthening working relations between the stakeholders and fastening the bolts of partnerships.