June 12, 2024

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Kalejaiye Commends Adoption Of Mother Tongue As Language Of Instruction In Public Schools

3 min read

…Commends FG’s approval of new National Language Policy

Mojisola Lawal

High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye

Traditional ruler in Otumara community in Lagos Mainland Local government of Lagos State, High Chief Kehinde Kalejiaye, has lent his voice to the call for the adoption of native languages as language of instructions in public primary schools across the country.

While making a case for local dialects, Kalejaiye observed that pupils learn and assimilate easily when instructions are dished out to them in the mother tongue.

Citing one of the research works of the first Professor of Education and Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Prof. Aliu Babatunde Fafunwa, Kalejaiye disclosed that Fafunwa, in his research project: Education in Mother Tongues, made a case for the use of mother tongue as language of learning for the first 12 years of the child’s life.

In the research work, Kalejaiye cited, the late Professor taught experimental groups of students in Ife, Osun state, in their native Yoruba in varying degrees for their first 6 school years, beginning in 1970 and they all recorded success in their exams.

While applauding the Federal Government for adopting and implementing this primary education research project of the late Professor of Education, he also commended the approval of a new National Language Policy which makes native language a compulsory medium of instruction for public primary school pupils in the country.

Earlier, Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had revealed that the mother tongue will be used exclusively for the first six years of education, while it will be combined with English Language from Junior Secondary School.

President Muhammadu Buhari

He said, “I have been and will always be an advocate of our local dialect as language of instruction in primary schools across the country.

This will not only prevent our local dialects from going into extinction, it will also instil in our children the moral and cultural values which have been eroded by modern civilisation.
About a week ago, I paid a courtesy call on the General Manager of Bond FM, Mrs Wuraola Adenike Adegoke to felicitate with her on the 35th anniversary of the radio station.
During the visit, we discussed how Yoruba language and culture can be preserved.

I could remember I cited countries like Japan, Germany and China whose medium of communication is their native languages.

These countries are great economically and technologically. Their levels of advancement are unparallel because they belief in themselves and they are unique in their approach to life.

We cannot copy them and want to be greater than them.

As Africans, our greatness lies in the adoption and giving primacy to our native languages, cultures and traditions.

We are now in an era where a thoroughbred Yoruba child cannot converse in his/her native language.

The funniest part of this is that such child is even applauded for this. This is shameful to us as Yoruba.

There is no way we can be English more than the Britons.

Their culture is distinctly theirs while ours is uniquely for us.

In Primary and Secondary schools, especially in Lagos state, it is so bad that pupils and students are made to pay as low as N20 for speaking in vernacular as they would say.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Even in our tertiary institutions, go and check the Department of Yoruba Language in the Faculty of Arts, I doubt if they have up to ten students studying Yoruba language but this is not the case with Foreign Languages like French and Arabic.

We have to safe our local dialects from going into extinction because in our language lies our uniqueness and identity as Africans.”

The traditional ruler implored the Ministry of Education to develop instructional materials and recruit qualified teachers that would aid the implementation of the new learning policy.

He said, “The approval of the new national language policy is the first hurdle but more still needed to be done by the federal government.

The government, particularly the Ministry of Education, must as a matter of urgency develop instruction materials and also recruit qualified language teachers to ease the implementation of the new language policy.

Also, the three major local dialects must be dominant language of instruction in primary schools across the country.

This is one of the preventive measures to getting our children on the right footing.”

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