Don wants Nigerian government to rescind decision on indigenous languages

Adekunle Ajasin University

Professor Akinwunmi Isola said the removal of indigenous languages from schools’ curricula is improper.

A Professor of Yoruba Language, Akinwunmi Isola, has called on the Federal Government to rescind its decision that removed the indigenous languages from the list of compulsory subjects.

Mr. Isola made the remark at the 4th Convocation Lecture of the Ondo State owned Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA), titled ‘ Kini a fe fi ede Yoruba se?’ (What do we want to do with Yoruba language?), which was delivered in Yoruba Language.

Quoting a report credited to the National Education Research and Development Council, NERDC, Mr. Isola said the NERDC decision is disheartening and will have a negative impact on the nation.

“The implication is that Yoruba, Hausa or Igbo is no longer in the list of compulsory subjects to be offered at the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination. This is a serious challenge for the continued survival of the mother tongue in Nigerian schools”, he said.

He blamed the hurried introduction of a second language to children without good knowledge of mother tongue, for poor understanding of both languages.

He said this practice by parents in the name of modernity impacts negatively on the children who fail to be competent in the native language and the second language.

The lecturer blamed the elites for seeing their local languages as inferior, lamenting that some parents do not speak Yoruba language in their homes let alone teach their children the language.

To redress the negative attitude towards the mother tongue, with a focus on Yoruba language, Mr. Isola advocated for parents to speak their native language to their children while government should ensure that the native language is the mode of instruction in primary schools.

“There is also the need for government to rescind its decision and ensure that Yorùbá language is made compulsory at the Senior Secondary Examination level. It will not be out of place for universities to include the teaching of Yorùbá language in the GST Curriculum where they teach Nigerian Peoples and Cultures”, he said.

He also enjoined the state lawmakers in the South-West to use the language as the medium of communication in their proceedings.

He said the legislators should not restrict their use of the Yorùbá language to campaign periods, saying various arms of government should explore the possibility of using Yorùbá language to report their activities and the bills passed into laws.

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