Children's Rights to Mother-Tongue Education in a Multilingual World: A Comparative Analysis between South Africa and Germany


  • Chrizell Stoop University of South Africa (UNISA)



Mother tongue, mother-tongue education, bilingual education, MT-based MLE, language policy, international instruments, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention against Discrimination in Education


The importance of the mother tongue, and, more specifically, of mother-tongue education, is recognised globally. Use of the mother tongue is regarded as one of the most effective ways of acting and performing cognitively, socially and communally. The aim of this article is to encourage and promote the implementation and realisation of mother-tongue education through certain school/education models in order to achieve equality and liberation and to increase the incidence of high-performance education systems in a multilingual world. A comparative analysis of South Africa and Germany will also be undertaken with regard to language policies and the mother-tongue education situation in these countries' school systems. Several other aspects such as the choice of language as a fundamental right, the importance of international instruments, as well as some lessons to be learnt for both South Africa and Germany in respect of mother-tongue education, will be discussed. It will be concluded that, despite the existence of a multilingual world, the crucial importance of the use of the mother tongue and mother-tongue education should not be underestimated and/or ignored.


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Author Biography

Chrizell Stoop , University of South Africa (UNISA)

Department of Mercantile Law. LLB, LLM (UP), LLD (UNISA). Associate Professor, School of Law, University of South Africa. Email:




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How to Cite

Stoop , C. (2017). Children’s Rights to Mother-Tongue Education in a Multilingual World: A Comparative Analysis between South Africa and Germany. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 20, 1–35.




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