Foundation urges teaching of indigenous languages in schools

By Onyedika Agbedo   |   02 June 2016   |   2:19 am
Officials of Fairhope for Children Initiative (FHI), with a cross section of pupils of One Master Model School, during festivities to mark this year’s Children’s Day in Lagos

Officials of Fairhope for Children Initiative (FHI), with a cross section of pupils of One Master Model School, during festivities to mark this year’s Children’s Day in Lagos

Against the backdrop of the increasing poor understanding of indigenous languages among Nigerian children, government has been urged to incorporate the teaching of more Nigerian languages into the school curriculum.

The Tubor Evah (2004-2013) Foundation, which made the call while marking this year’s Children’s Day in Lagos, said government and parents should make efforts towards ensuring that the Nigerian child grows up to effectively communicate in his/her indigenous language.

Speaking on the theme, “Save Our Mother Tongue, Speak Our Indigenous Language to Our Children,” founder of the foundation and Coordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group, Joseph Evah, said the teaching of indigenous languages up to the senior secondary school level would help to halt the tide of children not being able to communicate in their mother tongue.

He said: “We have Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa languages as subjects that students sit for at the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) level. So, we are also striving to see that our Ijaw language grows to the level where our children can also sit for it at the SSCE level.

This also goes for Urhobo, Isoko, Itsekiri and other indigenous languages in the Niger Delta region and even across the country. We must not lose our identity.”

Evah added: “I lost my son, Tubor, about three years ago; he was a wonderful boy. We will always remember him and as such we have set up a foundation – the Tubor Evah (2004 – 2013) Foundation – through which we want to reach out to other children who have one health challenge or the other. We are launching the foundation today.

“However, we also want to use the event to draw the attention of parents and the government to the fact that we are losing our identity outside our region. Parents are speaking other languages with their children even in their homes. We don’t want that; we want our people to speak our language with our children.”




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