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Entrenching Teaching, Learning Of Mother Tongue In Nigerian Schools

todayMarch 13, 2024 24

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Entrenching Teaching, Learning Of Mother Tongue In Nigerian Schools


Every year the world always set aside a day to create global sensitization about indigenous languages in a bid to bridge the gap on language discrimination.

This year is not left out in the celebration as the world commemorates the day focusing on education with the theme: Multilingual education, a pillar of learning and intergenerational

According to the United Nations, presently, forty percent of global population lacks access to education in their native languages.

And the figure has risen to over ninety percent in some regions.

Over the years, educationists, researchers and curriculum development experts have argued that children perform better when taught in their mother tongue.

Although, the Nigerian situation seems challenging with about six hundred and twenty-five recognized languages and over two thousand dialects, it becomes difficult on how to actualize a multilingual system in schools.

To foster some solution, a former Nigerian Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu in November 30, 2022 announced a new language policy, making mother tongue a compulsory medium of instruction from Basic one to six.

Unfortunately, about one year after little or nothing has been done to actualize this policy.

There have been no laid down implementation structure or road map to bring the policy to limelight.

It has become another established black and white policy that will remain so without visible successes.

Although, in some States, mother tongues are taught in schools, this is merely a few to the whole.

In most cases, some individuals had facilitated processes with little impact on the system.

Nigeria is bewailed with the influx of English, French, and Arabic.

The influence these languages have over the mother tongues cannot be Fathomed.

English is the accepted and recognized lingual Franca in the country, French and Arabic are presently the most learnt foreign Fanguages, with Arabic having so much hold in the Northern Region of the nation.

Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that Nigerian languages are on the verge of extinction.

Thus, there is need to implement the Nigeria Policy making mother tongue a compulsory medium of instruction in schools.

Underscoring the difficulties in achieving this policy holistically, the first step is to make language of a geographical location a compulsory subject in basic one to six.

Secondly, make it compulsory that students at Junior Secondary Schools and Senior Secondary Schools should select two indigenous languages, one, their mother tongue and other languages different from their mother tongue.

This implies that teachers will be needed in teaching the languages in the schools.

This can create more employment, increase appreciation of various languages, reduce language apathy and discrimination, improve unity and oneness in the country.

Therefore, government begin modalities to achieving a multilingual system in the country.

There is need to create a directorate from the National, States even Local Government Areas on Language Matters which will be responsible for the development and sustenance of languages in Nigeria.

Funds should also be budgeted for the development of indigenous languages separate from any institution’s budget.

And as a matter of emergency, a national language conference having scholars of languages, language experts, language advocates, Civil Society Organizations, and representatives of the six hundred and twenty-five languages should be called to examine possible means of actualizing language policies in the country.

By Josiah Egbilika, Edited By Grace Namiji

Written by: Salihu Tejumola

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