[lg policy] Nigeria: Use of indigenous languages, solution to ssce failure trend

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 2 14:52:44 UTC 2014

 Use of indigenous languages, solution to ssce failure trend —Don


 Former Director, Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan, Professor
Francis Egbokhare, has recommended the use of indigenous languages or
language of the environment as medium of instruction at the pre-primary and
primary school level as solution to the trend of unimpressive SSCE results.

Citing the success of the Ife Six-Year Primary Project, Egbokhare, speaking
with the Nigerian Tribune, said that a return to the use of indigenous
languages will greatly enhance the innovative and creative capacity of
students, hence, enables them appreciate and understand what they are being

He further noted that many students from primary to university level
continue to grapple with the problem of limited English proficiency because
they do not understand the large body of the materials that they read.

“Because WAEC and NECO are not fiddling with results, that is why the
reality is dawning on everybody. For me, the ideal is that English can run
as a parallel subject if we have the resources and will and capacity to
translate a lot of these documents to indigenous languages,” Egbokhare said.

“Our children are deformed from the beginning. If you train people in a
foreign language from the beginning, you are already creating a problem for
them because in the building of their own world view, they need their
mother tongue which is the language of their environment in order to
properly appreciate, understand, interpret the world in which they live,”
Egbokhare explained.

According to him, just like students, teachers also are of poor quality.

“We shall begin to find teachers who need to be taught because they
themselves passed through a system that there is distortion in their
intellectual capacity and ability,” Egbokhare noted.

He called for the political will of the country’s leadership to invest in
the development of resources that will facilitate implementation of the
country’s existing language policy.

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