The paper explores whether mother tongues should be given a sustainable chance to thrive as mediums of instruction in tertiary education in Bangladesh and China. In the Bangladesh context, four universities located in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, were included in this qualitative research study. Eight teachers of English, law, general education, and business participated in interviews. In the Chinese context, two international universities located in China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA) were also chosen for study. Six teachers were observed in their classrooms to understand their classroom practices and were interviewed to determine their perceptions about implementing mother-tongue instruction in classroom interactions. The data show that teachers are aware that English, on the one hand, limits students’ learning, fosters improper learning strategies, and marginalises them in academia while on the other hand, compromises students’ opportunities to develop critical thinking skills. However, they do not believe introducing the mother tongue will prompt significant changes in higher education learning and teaching. The paper concludes that introducing mother-tongue-based translanguaging that challenges the monolingual biases towards English seems a utopian ideal that may take a long time to be accepted and implemented in these two Asian countries. However, fostering mother-tongue-based translanguaging by recognising the need for the mother tongue within a broad linguistic repertoire that promotes a de-colonising pedagogy and equality in education could be a promising approach in tertiary education in the Global South.

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