The beginning of International Mother Language Day was when the Bangladesh diaspora, Rafiqul Islam wrote a letter to the UN Secretary General to save the world's languages from extinction. Then at the UN session on November 17, 1999 at the UNESCO General Conference session, it was declared that February 21 was designated as International Mother Language Day. The date was chosen because at that time, there was a murder incident in fighting for the Bangli language in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1952.
Regarding mother language or the first language used by speakers in communicating, there are currently many setbacks. The United Nations has indicated that several languages are in the brink of extinction. In 2023 with the theme Multilingual Education - a Necessity to Change Education, it is hoped that Mother Language lessons can exist and be accepted by users or native speakers of Mother Language. With this theme, it is hoped that every country will innovate so that the extinction of mother tongues can be slowed down.
In a special interview with Voice of Indonesia, Head of the National Agency for Language Development and Cultivation at the Ministry of Education and Culture, Research and Technology, Prof. Endang Aminudin Aziz said that what is meant by multilingual education is the role of other languages so that students can better understand their mother language. This means that the use of a second language in explaining mother tongue is a necessity in the learning process in class, especially among the current generation Z and Alpha. In addition, he also does not deny that the existence of technology has also caused the decline in the use of the mother tongue in everyday life.
Prof. Endang Aminudin Azin further stated that according to the latest data he had in 2020, speakers of the mother languages or regional languages in Indonesia only reached 76 percent and 73 of the 76 percent are out of home. And of that 76 percent, 61 percent are speakers of generation Z and Alpha or generations born between 1996 and 2010 on which this generation is very dependent on technological sophistication. One of the efforts made by the National Agency for Language Development and Cultivation to handle the decline in native language speakers is to mobilize all the Task Implementation Unit offices in 30 provinces to carry out multi-platform innovations in teaching local languages in each province.
The existence of this language agency is very large in the implementation of Indonesian language learning as a national identity as well as regional languages in supporting the existence of daily speakers. As a form of introducing and maintaining the Indonesian language as a national identity, currently there are centers for learning Indonesian with Indonesian language for foreign speakers - BIPA in 53 countries. In the continuity of Indonesian as the national language, the presence of mother language plays a major role in enriching Indonesian variety and vocabulary. Thus, it's not surprising that at this time, Indonesia at UNESCO is fighting for Indonesian language to be part of the 6 other languages spoken at the official UNESCO meeting in Paris. If accepted, it will possibly become the official language at the United Nations assembly in New York. Moreover, with a population of more than 250 million people and it can be spoken regionally in ASEAN member countries, it is the key to the presence of Indonesian language in the international world.