Vernacular not Prohibited

Oladipo Salami diposalami at
Fri Nov 28 18:53:48 UTC 2003

This item is culled from a Nigerian daily writing about the status of local
languages and the Englsih language in Nigerian schools.

The Punch (Nigeria) Newspaper - Wednesday November 26, 2003
News Behind the News (Nbtn):      Vernacular Not Prohibited

In many schools in Nigeria, one of the most popular notices you find around
is: Vernacular speaking is totally prohibited.  This suggests that students
are banned from speaking any of the local languages, as the official
language is English. One important rationale behind the order is to
encourage the students' proficiency in English.
It is not the focus of this column to review the sociopolitical accident or
is it tragedy - that forces the school authority to make the rule. What we
know is that it has become a religion for many schools  and parents alike to
forbid their children from speaking their mother tongues, a syndrome that
culture activists have described as being capable of making the kids become
bastards in the future.
  Nbtn came across one school in Lagos that departs from the anti-local
language stance in many schools. This is Government College, Agege. While
the school anthem of most other institutions is rendered in English, its own
is in Yoruba. And one good news about it is that the performance of its
students in English is not worse than those of its 'English-speaking'

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