Malala backs poetry initiative


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POETRY ENDORSED BY MALALA: The Nobel Peace Prize winner has said she backs a national competition for children who do not have English as a first language

POETRY ENDORSED BY MALALA: The Nobel Peace Prize winner has said she backs a national competition for children who do not have English as a first language

Education activist praises ‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ project

A national Laureate Education Project, led by the Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, has been backed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

To date, the ‘Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ competition has received more than 14,000 entries in over 70 languages since its launch in 2013.

Award winning boxer, Amir Khan, launched the 2015 competition, and said: "I think it's important to encourage more pupils in school to learn a language and this competition is a great way to boost children's confidence."

As in previous years, the poetry competition will be split into two parts.

‘Mother Tongue’ will see children who do not have English as a first language write about what a lullaby, poem or song in their native language means to them, while as part of ‘Other Tongue’ pupils will create an original poem in a second language that they are learning at school.

The national final will take place on 30th June and will feature a personal address by Malala, with prizes at the ceremony awarded by her father.

Malala said: “Our cultural heritage, identity and languages are all important to us and poetry is a great way to express these – I am inspired by my father, who is a great poet.”

Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Dr Sharon Handley, said: “I am delighted this year that the national Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition is officially endorsed by the youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner and education activist, Malala Yousafzai.”

Sharon, who is also Director of ‘Routes into Languages North West’, added: “I am passionate about promoting languages and encouraging pupils to learn new languages.

“I love the Mother Tongue Other Tongue Poetry Competition because it does just that – it celebrates the Mother Tongue, the language that is spoken at home, as well as promoting the Other Tongue, the opportunity to learn new languages at school.”

The project has been instrumental in supporting pupils to explore their multiple identities through culture, poetry and language and sharing this with their peers.

Being multilingual has many advantages the project aims to ensure pupils learn to value this early on in their lives.

Yasmin Hussain, Project Manager for ‘Routes into Languages North West’ said: “’Mother Tongue Other Tongue’ is a fantastic project. The competition is unique as it allows pupils to use their bilingualism creatively.”

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