The Timor-Leste Mother Tongue Based Multilingual education pilot project: A strategic evaluation. Report presented to UNESCO National Commission for Education, Timor-Leste

Jo CAFFERY, Gabriela Coronado, Bob Hodge, Kerry Taylor-Leech

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This report provides a strategic evaluation of the Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education Pilot (MTB-MLE) of the Timor-Leste Ministry of Education (ME) and its advisory body, the Timor-Leste National Commission for UNESCO (TLNCU). The pilot implemented the principles of the MTB-MLE policy, applied in the specific educational and sociolinguistic conditions of Timor-Leste. The evaluation was planned and conducted in collaboration with an evaluation headed by CARE International, overseen by Ms Francisca Soares, Co-ordinator of the MTB-MLE pilot in the TLNCU. The reference base for this report is the Baseline Report: Mother tongue based Multilingual Education in Timor-Leste: Pilot Project (CARE 2012). A midline report is planned to be produced by CARE concurrently with this one. The evaluation was carried out between 7 and 19 April, 2014. Our evaluation is intended to provide a multidimensional picture of the conditions, problems, strategies and achievements of the MTB-MLE pilot in its first phase, 2013- 2014. It synthesises quantitative and qualitative data in order to help improve the pilot over the rest of its life. It examines whether the MTB-MLE policy and principles are working well, what the benefits are, where it can be modified and improved and how it can be scaled up for Timor-Leste. This report evaluates the pilot for the successes it has achieved and the challenges it has faced in the circumstances in which it has had to work. It draws key strategic lessons and recommends changes for increased effectiveness and efficiency. The research that led to this report was conducted by a team of Australian scholars, Dr Jo Caffery, University of Canberra, Dr Gabriela Coronado and Professor Bob Hodge, University of Western Sydney and Dr Kerry Taylor-Leech, Griffith University, Queensland, with funding support from the TLNCU. It is an independent report and all judgements, opinions and recommendations in it are the sole responsibility of its authors. The TLNCU commissioned the report but in addition it is written for a larger audience: for educators and policymakers in Timor-Leste, for NGOs working in this field in Timor-Leste and for international specialists in the fields of multilingual education. As we explain at greater length in the report itself, we believe that the Timor-Leste MTB-MLE pilot is in some ways a unique experiment in multilingual education that is of international interest for scholars and policymakers in this field
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSydney Australia
PublisherUniversity of Western Sydney
Commissioning bodyMother Tongue Based–MultiLingual Education Network
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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