The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved a National Language Policy which makes it mandatory for children to be instructed in the mother tongue in all primary schools throughout the country.
The minister of education, Mr. Adamu Adamu, disclosed this to journalists after the weekly FEC meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“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,” he said.
Adamu said the decision was only in principle for now because it will require a lot of work to implement it.
“Theoretically, this policy starts from today (yesterday, Wednesday, November 30) but the use of mother tongue is exclusive but we need time to develop the material, get the teachers and so on,” he said.
He added that the mother tongue to be used in each school will be the dominant language spoken by the community where it is located.
The minister lamented that so much has been lost owing to the extinction of some local languages and stated that government is determined to preserve cultures and their particular quirks.
“Since the first six years of school should be in the mother tongue. Whereby the pupil is, 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 added.
He assured that all Nigerian languages are equal and will be treated as such.
The minister further revealed that the council approved a consultancy services agreement between the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and a private company for the upgrade of the portal on which the Board records candidates seeking admission into higher institutions of learning.