Old students implore the government to prioritise local languages in schools

The Federal Government has been urged to give local language use in schools at all levels of the nation top priority by former students of Government Secondary School (GSS) Ilorin, Kwara State.

Global statistics, they reasoned, demonstrated that teaching universal languages, such as English, in developing country schools “reduces children’s assimilation because the languages are often different from the ones they speak at home.”

Speaking at the 2023 Annual General Conference of the school over the weekend in Ilorin, the Conference Chairman, Kawu Bolakale urged the government to implement the mother tongue strategy for education that was started by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

In his speech, entitled ‘Alumni as Solution to Stem the Tide of Alma Maters’ Fading Glories’, Kawu recalled that on December 1, 2022, the then Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a new national language policy for primary schools.

He said: “It makes mother tongue a compulsory medium of instruction from Primary One to Six. There is no-brainer that it would require time to develop instructional materials and train teachers to make this a reality.

“However, I think the policy is too good to be discarded, and no amount is too much to invest in it. It tends to protect our mother tongues and traditional values from extinction and improve the quality of our education.”

Countries like China, South Korea, Japan, and many others are doing great in science, art and humanities largely because their medium of instruction in schools are indigenous to them, he added.

“They are equally the official languages of their respective nations. We would do well to follow in their footsteps,” he said.

The old students also urged the state government to transform the premier secondary school to a mega institution.

National President of the group, Mohammed Adebayo, said that a premier school like GSS Ilorin deserves transformation to a mega institution.

The old students, who commended Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s administration for its recent presentation of 500 mattresses, pillows, beddings and furniture to the school, further pleaded with the governor to rescue the school from neglect of several years.