By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The federal government has been commended on the recent adoption of mother tongue as language of instructions for students in primary schools across the country.
A peace-building organisation, Foundation for Peace Professional also known as PeacePro, which gave the commendation in Ilorin, Kwara state capital yesterday also urged the 36 states of the federation to comply with policy so as to advance the quality of education.
A statement issued by the Director of PeacePro, Mr. AbdulRazaq Hamzat, noted that, expanding the concept of mother tongue, beyond the three major languages in Nigeria is a truly inclusive policy for national educational progression.
Hamzat said: “This policy is a welcome development because no truly advanced and developed nation attained such level of development educational wise without using their mother tongue as language of instructions for teaching.”
According to Hamzat, “Even developing nations making progressive stride like China, India, Japan and others are doing so, with their mother tongue being the language of instructions in their schools and with the adoption of this policy in Nigeria, the country will no doubt advance the competence and understanding of its young population academically.
“Severally researchers including late Professor Sophie Oyewole established the nexus between mother tongue and comprehension in children and they worked all their lives to see Nigeria position itself on this developmental path and we are glad that government finally saw reason to pursue this bold action in the interest of the nation.”
The federal government approved a new National Language Policy which makes mother tongue a compulsory medium of instruction for public primary school pupils.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, revealed that the mother tongue will be used exclusively for the first six years of education, while it will be combined with English Language from Junior Secondary School.
He said even though the policy has officially taken effect, it can only be fully implemented when government develops instructional materials and qualified teachers are available.
Adamu explained that the mother tongue to be used in each school will be the dominant language spoken by the community where it is located.
The minister said the government was prepared to preserve cultures and their peculiar idiosyncrasies, stressing that so much has been lost due to the extinction of some local languages.
He assured Nigerians that all Nigerian languages are equal and will be treated as such.
PeacePro is therefore, calling on all state governments in the country to quickly implement the policy at the state level in the interest of speedy educational growth and development.