The Educational Language Rights of Kurdish Children in Turkey, Denmark, and Kurdistan (Iraq)

Authored by: Shelley K. Taylor , Tove Skutnabb-Kangas

Handbook of Social Justice in Education

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  June  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805859270
eBook ISBN: 9780203887745
Adobe ISBN: 9781135596149


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Research on educational performance indicates that linguistic minority (LM) children taught through the medium of a dominant language in submersion (sink-or-swim) programs2 often perform considerably less well than native dominant-language-speaking children in the same class, both in general and on tests of (dominant) language and school achievement. They suffer from higher levels of push-out rates, stay in school fewer years, have higher unemployment, and, for some groups, drug use, criminality, and suicide figures, and so forth. There would appear to be a strong argument that such children do not benefit from the right to education to the same extent as children whose mother tongue is the teaching language of the school, and that this distinction is based on language—see Skutnabb-Kangas (2000), for educational and sociological arguments, and for the human rights instruments that embody some linguistic human rights; for legal arguments, see also de Varennes (1996); Magga, Nicolaisen, Trask, Dunbar, and Skutnabb-Kangas (2005), for a summary of the arguments.

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