The Overseas School of Colombo has a diverse student body with native speakers of many different languages. The Mother Tongue program in the Middle Years Program and the School Supported Self Taught (SSST) in the Diploma Program provides students an opportunity to study their mother tongue within the existing school system. OSC supports this program by providing logistics, teaching space, training of tutors, and time within the school’s timetable. Students who are interested in studying their mother tongue must possess a high degree of skills and accuracy in their mother tongue. Students take this course in Language and Literature and must be at MYP Phase 5 or above where they are considered “proficient’ and use the language at home as the main mode of communication.

Our policy is that parents sign a written agreement to pay the cost of tutoring independent of OSC’s tuition. A tutor is identified by the parents with the support of the OSC Language Coordinator. Once a suitable tutor is identified, we provide on-site training and an online IB workshop. The Mother Tongue lessons commence during the regular school schedule with some after school classes depending on the availability of the tutor. Students and their tutors meet regularly; they are expected to meet at least 50 hours in the academic year if in the MYP if not more. Throughout the academic year, student’s progress is monitored and reported on in the interim and semester reports. The OSC Mother Tongue syllabus closely follows the MYP Language and Literature course.

In the DP, students follow a syllabus provided by the International Baccalaureate. The course is often referred to as School Supported Self-taught (SSST) and comes under Group 1: Language A. It is also taught by an external tutor and financially supported by the parents. Some embassies provide tutors via their cultural centers and this has been helpful in supporting the program at OSC. At the end of the programme the IB provides externally graded examinations in which students are assessed on their oral and written skills.

In the Diploma Program, by taking the SSST: Language A, students may earn the Bilingual Diploma. This is an option that OSC encourages and is chosen by students who need the mother tongue skills to transition back into their home country.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” ‒Nelson Mandela