Educationist cautions govt on including local languages in school curriculum

By Egbe Attah, Otukpo

A veteran educationist and Proprietor of Unique Nursery and Primary School, Otukpo, Benue State, Chief Icha Adole, has advised the Benue State Government to make proper arrangements before introducing indigenous languages into the school curriculum.

Chief Adole who gave the advice on recently while exchanging views with The Voice, observed that if the necessary machinery is not put in place, the policy like others before it would fail.

He said the idea of teaching local languages to students is interesting but the functionality of it is questionable, as the orthographies of such languages are not in uniformity even in a language spoken within a locality or tribe.

The curriculum expert pointed at the Idoma language which he said is a clear example of a language with variations both in spoken and written forms, adding that some of the indigenous pupils may not be too kin in learning any dialect other than theirs.

He explained that it will be difficult to decide as to which dialect within the language should be used in teaching the child. He added that currently there are very few competent teachers to handle the indigenous language, even as he said that there is also the problem of shortage of teaching and learning materials on the subject.

“We have few literature on the Benue local languages. Even where there exist, the authors on a particular language seem to write in different dialects. All these have to be addressed if the language policy in Benue State must succeed. Most policies are not properly planned before implementation and that why they fail,” he opined.

Chief Adole explained that for local languages to be functional in schools, the curriculum planner has to get a proper orthography and disseminate same to all institutions of learning, as well as formally accept the dialect to be used in each case, be it Idoma, Igede or Tiv.

He maintained that, if every teacher is allowed to teach his pupils the dialect of his choice there will be confusion, stressing that Benue linguistic landscape will be similar to that of the biblical Tower of Babel.

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