Stakeholders divided on planned introduction of Chinese language

Members of the public have expressed different opinions on the plan to introduce Chinese language in public schools.

Variant views have emerged on the plan to introduce Mandarin Language in public schools by the Lagos State Government.

Some said that it would be a misplacement of priority, while others hailed the plan, which they said is innovative.

The Lagos State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, said the introduction of the language would be “a policy somersault”.

“Our children are yet to understand our language, yet, we want to bring in another foreign language,” he said. “The policies we have now are not perfect, and we want to introduce another.”

A parent, Olaide Adegunju, also said that the language would be of no benefit to pupils and students since it is not widely acceptable.

Mrs. Adegunju said that it would be wrong for the government to expose the children to an alien culture, while some Nigerian languages are going into extinction.

She condemned the fact that some Nigerian children cannot speak their mother tongues.

“Teaching of Chinese Language in schools is not what we need now,’’ she said.

A Muslim cleric, Kamorudeen Adisa, said that although the government might have a good intention, it would be inappropriate to teach school children “a language which is totally alien”.

Mr. Adisa said that the Mandarin Language is not accepted outside of China.

“If the government should introduce the Chinese language, then, we should be prepared to teach our children Ghanaian, Indian, Arabic, Dutch, Spanish, Malaysian and German languages.

“Our children are already distracted by a lot of weird culture because of civilisation; our government should not compound it”, he said.

However, a guardian counsellor, Titilayo Fashina, said the introduction of the language is a good move on the part of the government.

“Students desire challenges; they are inquisitive to learn new languages.

“With the present economic situation in the world, people must start to plan for their children to meet future challenges,’’ she said.

A retired teacher and linguist, Folasayo Ajayi, also hailed the plan, but urged that major Nigerian Languages be made compulsory for all pupils and students.

Mrs. Ajayi, who speaks six different languages, said that children who understand many languages are generally more knowledgeable.

“If a child speaks more than one language, it is an added advantage. It makes the child to read more books, make more friends and be familiar with more cultures.

“She will benefit more and have leverage over her peers,” she said.

She, however, urged more teaching of Nigerian dialects to promote Nigeria’s culture, saying “our culture must not die.”



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