[lg policy] Nigeria: El-Rufai, Akeredolu canvass indigenous language for overall development

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Thu May 17 10:28:59 EDT 2018

Education <http://guardian.ng/category/features/education/>
El-Rufai, Akeredolu canvass indigenous language for overall development
By *Oluwaseun Akingboye, Akure*
17 May 2018   |   3:15 am
Akeredolu canvass indigenous language for overall development>
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Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has advocated the overhaul of the
country’s educational policy to encourage the use of indigenous language
for all round development. El-Rufai who stated this at the 4th
Distinguished Guest Lecture of the University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED),
Ondo lamented that the current system is obsolete and incapable of meeting
the present demands and realities.

The governor in his paper titled, “Transforming Nigerian educational
system: Looking back and looking forward, “ posited that fundamental
reforms are necessary in the sector and called on the Federal Ministry of
Education to step up measures of reviewing the National policy on education
which is already outdated.

“So much has changed in the sector, there is a need to sit down and get
experts to look at what is happening in the educational policies of
countries all over the world. Professionals are dying and new ones are
coming up. Our curriculum and policies on education are all grounded in the
20th century; there is need for a holistic review to meet with current
He lamented that the nation has not sustained its investment in the sector
despite its importance to the development of the citizenry in all

El Rufai explained the reasons behind his revolutionary reforms in the
sector, adding that several incentives like tax holiday, free housing
schemes, regular training are given to teachers as the core of education.

Though the legislation to eradicate early girl-child marriage in the Kaduna
State Assembly suffered setback due to perceived religious condemnation,
the governor said his administration nonetheless passed it to law in
February. He also raised concerns over the use of English language as the
official means of communication in the nation.

“ 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 it as the largest
economy in the world.

“They are a dominant force in Information and Communication Technology
(ICT), 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 instruction should be English? On his part, Governor
Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said restructuring must start from the sector, adding
“if we get it right here, other things will follow.”


 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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