Implementation of Multilingual Education for Sustainable Development in the Netherlands and Kazakhstan

Implementation of Multilingual Education for Sustainable Development in the Netherlands and Kazakhstan

Fatima Duisebayeva (Kazakh National Agrarian University, Kazakhstan) and Assel Imasheva (S.Seifullin Kazakh Agritechnical University, Kazakhstan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2551-7.ch013


The chapter presents a comparative analysis of the implementation of multilingual/bilingual education in Kazakhstan and the Netherlands. The study explores the origin and role of multilingualism, for socio-economic development, relevant regional and international practices in multilingual education, the growth of trilingual instruction, English language training and the use of digital technologies (distant, e-learning programs) in the Eurasian region, Major common features and differences of implementing multilingual/bilingual teaching between the two case studies and the main findings from research trips are identified. A theoretical analysis of scholarly approaches, as well as practical and methodological implications, are made on the example of implementing multilingual instruction at the Kazakhstani agricultural higher educational institutions, particularly Kazakh National Agrarian University and Kazakh S. Seifullin Agritechnical University and Dutch counterparts - Wageningen University, and the Hague University of Applied Sciences.
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The situation when an individual or a group of people use more than one language while interacting with other people is widely called as polylingualism, multilingualism and/or plurilingualism. The terms “multicultural” and “polycultural” education are used interchangeably as they differ primarily by linguistic origins (Latin “multum” and Greek “poly” both meaning “many”). These terms are derived from French “multilinguisme” and “plurilinguisme”, which were widely used in research since the 1950s (Cohen, 1956).

Multilingual education means using of at least three languages as tool of instruction in education: first, the mother tongue, second, a regional or national language and, the third, an international language (UNESCO, 2003).

English language is often being used as a medium for international communication, the leading language of business, science and socio-economic development. (Samuelson and Freedman, 2010).

English has been the official language of the European Central Bank since 1998, with press conferences held in English, despite the fact that the United Kingdom has a special opt-out from the EU treaties and the Economic and Monetary Union (Dor, 2004).

In the USA multicultural and multilingual education was developed intensively in response to demands to end racial discrimination, inequality and segregation in the 1960s-1970, during the so-called “Black Revolution”, accompanied by the civil rights movement and supported by the state laws to merge public schools for white and black students (e.g. the lawsuit “Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka”). In the 1980 - 2000s American scholars supported multicultural and multilingual education as one of the fundamental principles of democratic society (Nieto, 2008, Banks, 2008; Campbell, 2010; Glazer, 1998)

On the other hand, in some countries like Australia the concept of multilingualism is slowly losing its ground, although in the 1990s, it was on top of governmental agenda. (Heugh, 2014).

Politically multilingualism promotes increasing of linguistic capital and establishing interethnic dialogue between nationalities, particularly in Kazakhstan. The strategic policy goal of multilingual education (MLE) is achieving social justice, equity and human rights (Duisebayeva, 2018).

MLE unites different disciplines that come together through language and education, such as sociology, pedagogy, psychology, linguistics, methodology, etc. Multilingual pedagogy builds bridges between cultures, schools and countries and is relevant to primary and secondary school pupils and teachers, university students and professors; it promotes overcoming barriers of monolingualism and transforming without privileging a language. Its major principles are Mother Tongue Instruction (MTI), support and/or revival of other languages and language transfer (Harrison, 2013).

MLE could also be combined with Foreign Language and Intercultural Communication Learning for the dominant language and monolingual speakers, allowing all students to learn in more than one language.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Multilingualism: Using of more than one language.

Bolashak Scholarship: International Scholarship was established on 1993 by the Decree of First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. A. Nazarbayev for training personnel and specialists for priority sectors of the Kazakhstani economy.

Bilingualism: Using two languages.

Trilingualism: Using three languages.

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