On February 21, 2013, by decision of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Mother Language Day is observed around the globe for the fourteenth time.  Its observance goal is to promote linguistic diversity and multilingual education, and to draw attention to the importance of mother tongue education.

On February 21, 2013, by decision of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Mother Language Day is observed around the globe for the fourteenth time.  Its observance goal is to promote linguistic diversity and multilingual education, and to draw attention to the importance of mother tongue education.

Linguistic and cultural diversity represent universal values that strengthen the unity and cohesion of societies.  Therefore, in selecting the theme for the 2013 International Mother Language Day – "Books for Mother Tongue Education" – UNESCO reminds that assistance with publication of books in mother tongues is a key to supporting local education.

"The vitality of languages depends as much on oral exchange as on the large–scale production of teaching material and printed texts. In some countries, the dearth of books and textbooks in local languages hampers development and social inclusion and represents a violation of the right to freedom of expression", said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director–General in her message for the International Mother Language Day.

According to the 2009 census, more than one half of Belarusian nationals – 5 million and 58 thousand persons – called the Belarusian language as their mother tongue.  More than 60% of Belarusians consider the native language as the native tongue.

The ability to study in the native tongue has a key role in the development of a nation. UNESCO advocates for pre–school mother tongue education in a bilingual or multilingual approach.

According to the National Statistical Committee, in 2012/2013 academic year more than 151 thousand students learn all subjects in the Belarusian in daytime establishments of general secondary education in Belarus.  As regards universities, 0.2% of all university students are instructed in the Belarusian language.

Books in the Belarusian language are regularly published in Belarus.  However, according to Ms. Lilia Ananich, First Deputy Minister of Information, their number is insufficient.  On average, Belarusian books account for 10% of all publication during a year.

According to the Belarus National Book Chamber, which keeps record of all books released by Belarusian publishing houses, in 2012, they published 1,074 books in the Belarusian language totaling 3,916,800 copies.  As regards periodic press, every year over 26% of newspapers and magazines are published in Belarusian, 73% — in Russian and 0.4% — in Polish.