[lg policy] Nigeria: El-Rufai, Akeredolu Canvass Use of Indigenous Language, Seek Educational Reform

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Sat May 12 11:12:10 EDT 2018

 Nigeria: El-Rufai, Akeredolu Canvass Use of Indigenous Language, Seek
Educational Reform

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By Oluwaseun Akingboye

Akure — Governor Malam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has called for an
overhaul of the country's educational policy, stressing that there is dire
need to adopt indigenous language for all round development.In the same
vein, the Ondo State governor and visitor to the university, Oluwarotimi
Akeredolu, lauded his Kaduna State counterpart for his audacious revolution
in the education sector.

Akeredolu, who reiterated a need for curricular reform and a common
indigenous language for all the ethnic groups in the country, described
education as the bedrock of socio-economic development.

The duo stated this during the fourth distinguished guest lecture of the
University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED), Ondo, titled: "Transforming
Nigerian Educational System: Looking Back and Looking Forward."The Ondo
governor, who condemned widespread clamour for political restructuring,
said: "Restructuring must start from the education sector. If we get it
right here, other things will follow. Why are we not starting from here
because it will affect other sectors?"

While asserting that the current educational policy operated in the country
is obsolete, El-Rufai stressed that it could not meet up with the present
education demands and realities.His words: "I think that fundamental
reforms are needed in education and I think what the Federal Ministry of
Education needs to do is to lead in reviewing the National policy on
education, which is already forty or fifty years old.

"In my view, it is out of time; in the 21st century, so much has changed in
education, but there is a need to sit down and get experts in the subjects
to look at what is happening in the educational policies of countries in
the world: what is changing."Professionals are dying and new ones are
coming up. Our curriculum and policies on education are all grounded in the
20th century, we are in the 21st and there is need for a holistic review of

The Kaduna governor, who lamented that the nation has not sustained the
investment on education in the past despite its importance to the
development of the citizenry in all ramifications, however, stated that
"the situation in Kaduna is perhaps better than some states in the North in
terms of education.

He said though the legislation to eradicate early girl-child marriage in
the Kaduna State Assembly suffered setback due to perceived religious
condemnation, his administration dared such constituted authorities and
passed it into law in February.

He said: "Of course, associated to that is the quest for indigenous
language. Should we still be teaching from primary to university in English
Language? What can we learn from other countries that teach in their own
indigenous languages up to university level?

"They teach from primary to tertiary institutions in their own languages
and they have gone to space. China is competing with America and will soon
overtake the United States (U.S.) as the largest economy in the world.

"They are dominant force in ICT and defence, yet they are taught in
Chinese. Is there something we can learn there? Are we slowing down our
development by insisting that the only language of the educational
communication is English?"

"This national policy should look at issues like this and come up with
policies on education that will prepare young people of Nigeria for the
21st century because right now, the education we are giving them may not be
fit for 21st century to compete globally."
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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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