Jarus Jarus, an author, chartered accountant and public analyst, is…
By Kunle Bello
The choice of language is a recurrent challenge in the development of qualitative education, speakers of mother tongues which are not the same as the national language are often at a considerable disadvantage in the educational system which is a great antithesis to learning.
Successful learning will be attained when students are properly guided and knowledge is transferred through the right medium of local language. But it is quite unfortunate that there is a disparity between what we are being taught in schools and laboratories and reality in industries which can be largely attributed to foreign medium of instruction. If a student cannot understand the language of instruction, it becomes difficult if not impossible to grasp the content of the subject.
As of today, most of the nations with thriving and powerful economies in the world have their educational systems primarily rooted and conceived in their local languages. The use of our local language to teach will prevent our mother tongue from becoming extinct and keep our linguistic heritage to our incoming generations.
It also makes the acquisition of second language easier. As such, mother tongue instruction and foreign language medium of instruction are mutually supportive. According to UNESCO, students are more likely to enroll and succeed with better academic performance if they are being taught with their local languages.
Teaching and learning in local language will not only assist students to develop better thinking skills, but will also significantly improve their mental abilities and capacities. Regardless of how good one knows a second language, certain cultural concepts, cultural constructs and some philosophical beliefs cannot be taught in a foreign language, except local language.
Never will a native speaker of a dominant foreign language get full credit for teaching and demonstrating proficiency in that language, there will always be lingering doubt. Therefore, one’s freedom begins with the ability to conceive in your local language.
Lastly, using local language to teach in schools or at homes will not only encourage students to become lifelong learners –confident, accepting and enthusiastic about their cultural heritage, it will also go a long way in aiding assimilation of subjects thought in schools.