Stakeholders canvass mother tongue as language of instruction in elementary schools

Stakeholders in the education sector in Kwara on Thursday canvassed the use of mother tongue as the language of instruction for pupils in Primary One to Three.

The stakeholders made the call at a forum organised by the Civil Society Action Coalition of Education For All (CSACEFA) in Ilorin to commemorate the 2019 World Literacy Day.

Mr Babatunde Alade, the guest lecturer at the forum, had lamented that many parents now force their children to speak the lingua franca at a tender age.

He said the development could lead to the extinction of the local languages if not checked.

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Alade, a staff of the Kwara State Agency for Mass Literacy Education, spoke on the theme: “Literacy and Multilingualism.”

He called for policy and legislation that would mandate teachers in early childhood education to teach in local languages from Primary One to Three.

According to  Alade, literacy is not only the ability to read and write in the official language of the nation but also in mother tongue.

He said: “We don’t develop our languages, but we are developing others. If children are not properly taught in their mother tongues, how will they develop? ”

The guest lecturer commended CSACEFA for convening the forum, urging it to serve as a catalyst to collaborate with other organisations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives of relevant agencies and organisations also urged parents to always speak indigenous languages to their children at home.

Earlier in her address of welcome, the State Coordinator of CSACEFA, Hajia Nimat Labaika, said the day was earmarked for celebration to reduce poverty in the society and entrench equality in access to education among male and female children.

Labaika noted that the theme of the forum was conceived owing to the findings that showed that pupils in elementary schools lack a proper understanding of their studies due to the use of official language to teach in their early childhood education.

According to her, research also showed that pupils in Primary One to Three would have been more grounded in their studies if the language of instruction in the local language.

The forum, she said, was meant to sensitise the public on the need to incorporate the use of indigenous languages in early childhood education.

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