Lagos govt, NERDC ask private schools to teach local languages

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Dec 29 13:48:27 UTC 2005


Lagos govt, NERDC ask private schools to teach local languages
By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
Posted to the Web: Thursday, December 29, 2005

Majority of private secondary schools in the country are not conforming
with the National Policy of Education (NPE) which stipulates that Hausa,
Igbo and Yoruba languages should be taught as second language in Junior
Secondary School (JSS). According to this policy, one of these three major
Nigerian languages is expected to be offered as a core subject by none
indigenes learning it as second language which is aimed at enabling the
students to appreciate other peoples culture as a way of forging national
unity among the various ethnic groups in the country. But, inspite of the
noble objective of the policy, majority of private schools do not teach
their students the local languages. Lagos State commissioner for
education, Professor Olakunle Lawal says much of this at the critique
workshop on textbooks written in Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba recently organised
by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC).

He says: We have many private schools in Lagos State where they only teach
in English and do not teach the local languages. The private schools see
their institutions as the place where English Language has to be taught in
order for people to appreciate them. There is also acute dearth of
teachers of these local languages. We appeal to these private schools to
ensure that the National Policy on Education programme on Nigerian
Languages are adhered to. Lawal noted further that the refusal of private
schools to comply with the NPE has resulted into a situation whereby we
are losing our values as our children cannot speak our languages at home,
adding that by speaking our languages we are invariably projecting
ourselves which will make other peoples to value us. To ensure that the
NPE on Nigerian languages are widely implemented at all levels of the
nations educational system, Lawal said the use of the books on the local
languages should not be limited only to junior secondary schools but
should also be extended to vocational centres as well as the universities.

The NERDC has however taken a decisive step at ensuring a total
implementation of the NPE by developing the curriculum titled: National
Curriculum for Junior Secondary Schools: L2 Nigerian Languages - for the
teaching of the three languages as second language in JSS in Nigeria. And
in a bid to assist the teachers in the use of the curriculum and also
encourage the learners of the subject, NERDC went into writing textbooks
for the second language programme. The textbooks written, which are based
on the curriculum for the teaching and learning of Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba as
second language, are as follows:  Book 1 for JSS1, Book 2 for JSS 11 and
Book 3 for JSS 111 - all of which have Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba versions.

According to the Executive Secretary of NERDC, Professor Godswill Obioma,
a sincere implementation of the NPE on Nigerian languages is very
important because education can only be meaningful if it is taught in the
language of the pupils, adding that NERDC will leave no stone unturned to
empower the network of educational resource centres in the country to use
the books in their centres by teaching teachers. Says Obioma of the
efforts of NERDC at empowering those who will implement the NPE on
Nigerian languages: We have education resource centres in Nigeria which
are state based. They are arms of the ministry of education. The law
empowers the NERDC to coordinate the activities of these centres. We have
a body called Network of Educational Service Centre in Nigeria (NESCN). I
chair that conglomerate of body of education resource centres. Our focus
is to do teachers mentoring, teachers support, instructional materials
development, customation of curriculum.

He stressed further that the 2006 strategic workplan of NERDC is to ensure
a proper implementation of the NPE, adding that NERDC had earlier done a
workshop on the eradication of poor quality textbooks, a roundable he said
is to be used as a building bloc for the formulation of the national book
policy. According to Obioma, the establishment of a National Book Council
will ensure the production of quality books, a council that will operate
at the same level with NAFDAC. We are to organise community-based
workshops. Our council has the plan of establishing teachers project and
we will play a great role in building teachers capacity.

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