Muhammad has been working on language development since 1992 and with the Foreign Language Institute since 2004, as a trainer, researcher, advocate, and mobilisation person for marginalised language communities. 

Follow Muhammad on Twitter @zamansagar

Personal reflections

The last time I participated in a LDC conference was in 2011 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Before that event I, as most of the people here in Pakistan thought, that the British Council worked only on English language development. After this conference and reading the publications of Dr. Hywel Coleman I got to know that this conference is inclusive and is welcoming of researchers, authors, and academics from all language communities around the globe. Multilingual Education (MLE) is another such thing that is welcomed by British Council in these past conferences. We all feel a part of British Council’s movement and advocacy towards implementation of mother tongue-based multilingual education in the early years of schooling for lesser-known language communities worldwide. 

Here in Pakistan, I was also a part of an advocacy task force under the British Council Pakistan to promote mother tongue-based multilingual education in Pakistan. The reason behind this advocacy effort was the failure of students in all types of schooling in Pakistan (public, private, madrassa) when it comes to competency in oral and written English all the way from early grades pre-schools up to the Masters level. 

Hywel Coleman's study and later Tony Capstic clearly showed that for competency in English one need to get his/her early education in their mother tongue and then can bridge into English. 

I wish a successful and fruitful conference ahead in Dakar in November and also hope that people like myself can learn a lot from the practitioners in this field from around the world.