The small east African nation of Eritrea has implemented the Mother Tongue policy nationwide to prevent cultural genocide within its nine different ethnic groups.

This is done by educating all children in tribal environments in their mother tongue until literacy at grade 5. By making sure that the ethnic minorities learn to read and write in their mother tongue the Eritrean Government is making sure that their culture survives as well for without ones language one cannot practice your culture.

Historically destroying peoples mother tongue is the means used to carry out a policy of cultural genocide with many thousands of dialects having disappeared during the western colonial and neo colonial era. Today many of the languages that remain are threatened by the children of these ethnic groups not being literate in their mother tongue which will almost inevitably lead to the loss of their identity, their language and their culture.

It hasnt been easy for Eritrea, hammered by global warming droughts and economically disadvantaged due to western inflicted sanctions and embargoes and with 9 tribes with 9 languages, some of which have never had a written language, the challenge of implementing the Mother Tongue policy for all our tribes has been hard work.

It has been well over a decade now that the policy has become the practice nationwide and the next generation of Eritrean youth from all our 9 tribes are literate in their mother tongue, a policy the whole world needs to adopt.

Thomas C. Mountain is an independent journalist in Eritrea, living and reporting from here since 2006. His speeches, interviews and articles can be seen on Facebook at thomascmountain and he can best be reached at thomascmountain at g mail dot com

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  1. Ahmed Idris says:

    No , no , that is not true. .the idea behind the Mother Tongue Policy is the demonation of the Tigrinia over the rest .and the pushing the Tigrinins down our throats. .which at the end of the day it will have a negative effect on the Tigrinia itself , and this policy will bacfire .

    Back to the so called Mother Tongue Policy .non of them is been developed.. .apart from the Tigrinia, which all the tax payer money is been put on developing this language and using it in the media and in the official work ..while cornering the rest just in the dance floor. .

    Fanially,I just want to make sure that I don’t have anything against Tigrinia. .what I mean let the people practice their chose on the language that they choose. .and the Arabic language the choice of people since the early 50s in our first democratically elected parliament. .

    My best regards

  2. K SHESHU BABU says:

    There is a need for developing native languages as medium as tribal children can understand the instructions in their mother tongue easily. Moreover, the languages need to be integrated with mainstream Eritrea official languages so that people can integrate with majority

  3. EASE (@easewithAfar) says:

    Eritrean Government is 25 Years too late on Indigenous Rights Issues, They have implemented policies to systematically subdue all Ethnic rights since independence in favor of the ruling Tigrigna Language, Now they claim to save the Languages and the culture of the Afar and other ethnicity. Can the Police investigate itself for the Crimes of their members (committed by Police itself)? NO, The Government has the ulterior motives to come up with this plan. This is a fight between Arabic and Tigrigna in Eritrea, Nothing to do with preserving other Languages,