a cross-section of primary school students being taught in Hausa language

FG adopts Mother Tongue as the language of teaching in Primary schools

Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu has announced that the language of instruction for teaching in primary schools will henceforth, be in their mother tongue. 

The mother tongue is the first language (L1) a child learns to speak when learning how to talk. It is usually the language of his/her parents, and most often, their local dialect. 

What is the rationale behind the adoption? 

Speaking shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Meeting (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House Abuja on Wednesday, the education minister said the federal government recognizes the difficulty and challenges that may arise in implementing the policy, adding that the mother tongue will be combined with the English language at the junior secondary school level. 

Malam Adamu said the policy became important following the extinction of some local languages in the country and the government’s determination to revive them and preserve cultures. 

“A memo on national policy was approved by the council. So, Nigeria now has a national language policy and the details will be given later by the ministry.

“One of the highlights is that the government has agreed now that henceforth, instruction in primary schools the first six years of learning- will be in the mother tongue.” 

“Since the first six years of school should be in the mother tongue, the language of the host community is what will be used because we have 625 languages at the last count and the objective of this policy is to promote and enhance the cultivation and use of all Nigerian languages,” He said. 

Mallam Adamu also revealed that the policy starts “theoretically” yesterday, but stated that the ministry would need some time to develop the materials, get teachers, and other requirements before practical implementation of the policy. 

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