Midlands State University National Language Institute (MSUNLI) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held the 2024 Language Indaba at the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) Headquarters, Harare on 23 February 2024 aimed at fostering collaboration on language preservation, promotion, and multilingual education in Zimbabwe.

The Language Indaba commenced with welcome remarks from the MSU Vice Chancellor, Professor Victor Ngonidzashe Muzvidziwa, outlining the aim of the event.

“The aim of this Indaba is to bring together all the official languages experts so that we can move to another level in the development of the languages and celebrating the diversity,” remarked Professor Muzvidziwa.

Highlighting UNESCO’s commitment to linguistic diversity, UNESCO Director, Ms. Nisha, said that the organisation is pleased to promote multilingualism and supporting the preservation of Zimbabwe’s individual languages.

“Mother language is a language that is inherited and essential for knowing and appreciating, without it there is no diversity and inclusivity,” stated Ms. Nisha.

Delivering the keynote address, the Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Professor Fanuel Tagwira, emphasised the importance of multilingual education in the national curriculum.

“The gathering is meant to deliberate on our languages as recognised by our national Constitution of 2013.

“Our languages are indispensable calls in the machinery of Zimbabwe’s socio-economic turnaround,” said Professor Tagwira.

Following the keynote address, a diverse panel of experts and discussants engaged in thought-provoking conversations on language policy, cultural preservation and the challenges faced in implementing multi-lingual education.

Presenting on the way forward, Executive Dean-Faculty of Education, Zimbabwe Open University, Professor S. Nyota, highlighted the need for comprehensive language policy frameworks, investments in language research, training of language professionals and the integration of indigenous languages into various sectors of society.

In his closing remarks, Acting Executive Director-Midlands State University National Language Institute, Dr. William Zivenge thanked all the speakers, panel experts and participants for their valuable contributions towards the preservation of multilingualism.

The Indaba concluded on a positive note, with participants leaving committed to championing linguistic diversity in Zimbabwe.

The event serves as a beacon of the foundational work played by Midlands State University through its National Language Institute in  preserving and promoting Zimbabwe’s rich linguistic heritage through strategic collaborations and language consultancy.

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