MIPCE II: Defining a space for indigenous and multi-lingual education

KUCHING: Themed ‘Bridging languages, cultures and people together’, the second Malaysian Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education (MIPCE II) will be held Sept 20 to 22 at Damai Beach Resort.

The conference is organised by the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) in collaboration with Unicef Malaysia, the State Planning Unit – Chief Minister’s Department of Sarawak, Sarawak Convention Bureau, Majlis Adat Istiadat Sarawak, Kadazandusun Language Foundation (KLF), SIL Malaysia, PACOS Trust, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

MIPCE II, according to a press release on August 9, will be a place to meet and network with government agencies, experts, indigenous peoples’ associations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil societies, private/corporate sectors and others about different approaches to indigenous education, multilingual education and the use of the mother tongue in formal and non-formal settings.

By the end of MIPCE II, the organisers hope to articulate a set of resolutions on the role of indigenous languages in the Malaysian education system and identify the basis for further development of a clear policy and action plan, including advocacy, community awareness, research and capacity building initiatives.

The first MIPCE was held in April 2007 in which several thousand people attended the opening ceremony.

More than 200 delegates representing 21 language communities across Malaysia remained for the seven-day conference.

Eleven international and a number of local speakers raised awareness of the benefits of effective multilingual education (MLE) programmes.

The initiative for the planning of MIPCE came from a number of indigenous language communities in Malaysia who desire to preserve, develop and promote their mother-tongue languages.

They recognised that a strong educational foundation in the mother tongue provides an effective bridge to learning Malay and international languages.

Meanwhile, indigenous cultural associations will have the chance to set up an exhibit to showcase their work, as well as to contribute to cultural performances at the upcoming conference.

Among the highlights of the conference include presentation of case studies of successful programmes from around the world, including Malaysia, as well as an exhibition, book and craft sales.

There will be a featured workshop on ‘EthnoArts in MLE’ which is designed to offer a basic overview of practical ways to develop and integrate culturally relevant ethnic art forms into MLE and literacy programmes.

At the end of the training, the participants should have an increased awareness of how Arts function within their working and living context, some tools for steps in research techniques related to local arts, and some basic helps in specific ways that ethnic art forms can be applied appropriately to their developing or existing MLE and literacy programmes.

Workshop facilitators are Mary Elizabeth Saurman (International Ethnomusicology and Arts Consultant – SIL International) ​and Todd Wayne Saurman (Asia SIL Ethnomusicology Coordinator and Mainland Southeast Asia Group Ethnomusicology Consultant SIL International).

In addition, there will be optional field visits to indigenous education centres after the conference which have been planned for Sept 23.

​Registration for MIPCE II is now open. To register for the conference, complete the Conference Registration Form downloadable from MIPCE II’s website (conference’s registration fee is RM50 for locals and US$50 for foreigners).

For more information, contact the secretariat through email at mipce16@gmail.com.

For registration and more information on the conference programme, venue or costs, visit its website at www.mipce.com.

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