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Many members of non-dominant or minority language communities, especially those living in remote areas, face significant challenges when they try to get a good quality basic education:

1) Some have no access to school at all; others have access to schools, but not to trained teachers – or teachers of any kind.

2) Even if schools are adequately staffed, many of the teachers use a language that
the learners do not understand.

3) Textbooks and lessons focus on the language and culture of the dominant group. If the learners are unfamiliar with that culture, as many are, it is very difficult for them to understand the concepts that are being communicated.

4) Teachers who come from the dominant language society may consider the learners “slow”. They may fail to appreciate – or may even look down on – the learners’ heritage language and culture.

For these learners, school is often an unfamiliar place teaching unfamiliar concepts in an unfamiliar language.

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