Adopting Mother Tongues In Nigerian Schools Thrills Culture Advocate


By Adadainfo

The founder of Maka Odimma Ndigbo, Nze Kanayo Chukwumezie, weekend, expressed gratitude to the federal government for launching mother tongues as the medium of teaching in primary schools.

Chukwumezie recalled that when he expressed interest to contest the governorship position of Anambra State, he made it clear that he would adopt the Igbo language as the medium of teaching in schools.

He told our correspondent that, “It is long overdue. When I presented myself for Anambra State governorship elections last year, the strongest part of my manifesto and one most dear to me was the revolution in our educational sector.

“I presented a 100% Igbo educational system from my first year. This means all subjects (including English) taught in the Igbo language from Primary One. By the time I would be completing eight years in office, we would be in SS2. The target therefore was for Primary and Secondary first and hopefully university.

“I used Belgium as an example. As at 1990 when I went to study in their university, most of their Dutch textbooks were handouts and paraphrases of the main English textbooks, meaning that it was not long they started university courses in Dutch/Netherlands/Flemish.

“My investigation proved me right that their elite language was French till the Dutch speaking part tried to assert their local language and relied more on English. Today, not only education at all levels but world-class researches are being done in their language and all levels of textbooks being rolled out in their language.

“I also gave examples of China and Japan that are highly technologically advanced and only use their own languages. Using foreign languages to teach people has strong limitations. It excludes a great percentage of the population that are not educated.

“It also removes originality in everything because the environment you will be operating on have some specifics not covered by the foreign language.”

He called for the use of mother tongues in primary schools to have ‘a legislative backing and gazetted to make it legally binding’.

According to him, “The best way to harness this is to build a new crop of people from Primary One and allow them to grow with it.”

In a similar vein, the Nigerian Publishers Association has commended the federal government for granting approval for teaching in mother-tongue in primary schools across the country.

Dr Uchenna Cyril Anioke, the association’s president, disclosed this in a statement. He said, “There is abundant evidence to show that nations who teach and publish books in their local languages are advantageously positioned. India which today has become a choice place for medicine teaches and publishes more in mother-tongue than the English language.

“China is a developed country and leads in construction and infrastructure. They hardly speak English and all their books are in local language. In Indonesia, which is also a developed country, teaching and learning is conducted in indigenous language.

“Nigeria can actualise this and as an association, we welcome the policy of teaching in indigenous language in the first six years of the pupils’ education. It is in tandem with our prolonged appeal.

“We are hopeful that it will be a quantum leap in our educational development as well as a broad pathway towards achieving the much desired breakthrough in medicine, science and tech and indeed in other fields of human endeavour.”

Recall that Education Minister Adamu Adamu had on Wednesday announced the approval at end of the Federal Executive Council meeting held in Abuja.


Adadainfo is an online newspaper reporting Nigerian news. Email: Phone: 08071790941

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