The Institute for Art and Culture (IAC) launched their first centre, Maaboli Centre, committed towards the progression and protection of indigenous languages of the country. The Maaboli Centre at IAC aims to study the role of languages in the promotion of art and culture, along with developing an integrated programme for the cultural advancement and education of the masses; encompassing all the integral aspects of culture ranging from tangible to the intangible.

A five-day event was held between 3-8 May at IAC. Noted lawyer and scholar Dr Farooq Bajwa from London was invited as chief guest. Bajwa participated in discussions and was briefed about the fieldwork completed by IAC for the centre. Moreover, the future course of action for the advancement of centre was also shared with him.

Maaboli Centre aimed to investigate and explore the role of mother languages in education by engaging the community through active participation. The centre was all set to work and extend language choices offered by leading universities including Seraiki, Pashto, Sindhi, Brahui and other languages to the students. The centre will also launch a mother tongue advocacy campaign at both national and legislative levels, to create awareness.

“An important aspect of this centre will be the off-campus work with local communities as it is a universal fact that children learn better when taught in their mother tongue. The current education systems in Pakistan negate the existing diversity of people, multiplicity of languages, and the plurality of cultures,” said IAC Vice-Chancellor Prof Sajida Vandal.

He added the Maaboli Centre will also offer support to local schools in developing their curriculum and teacher training activities in relation to Punjabi language courses, in a bid to streamline the process of teaching local languages at the school level.

“The Maaboli Centre for indigenous languages is a practical solution to a language debate that dates back more than 200 years. Schools should be encouraged and empowered to teach in the indigenous languages as well as in English,” said Professor Mushtaq Soofi, who with the assistance and support of Prof Naveed Alam, is playing an integral part in organising and carrying forward the initiatives planned by the centre.

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