What’s the Value in This?

You know many times I want to post, but then I have told myself I will stop seeing problems and if I Identify a problem, I must also identify the solution before I open my mouth or write about it.

Gov. Ambode of Lagos State recently announced thats all schools in Lagos must adhere to a Yoruba language day- Wednesdays every week where the entire day is to be conducted in Yoruba; from assembly to Closing.

Why anybody assumed this made sense or fosters national Unity is somewhat beyond me. I am half Yoruba and I do not believe the policy was well thought out. First of all they cannot attempt to copy the Finnish or Chinese system which have one “unanimous” language – which may have variations based on regional influences. Nigeria is a heterogeneous culture with over 200 ethnic groups and as such has no unifying language other than English. So I think the policy is dead on arrival.

Mandating proficiency in one of the local more popular languages (given limited access to language teachers of certain ethnicities) would have been more appropriate- possibly cross enrolling students. Meaning encouraging Yoruba children to learn Igbo and vice versa. You may be able to build more tolerance and Unity that way.

Mandating everyone to learn Yoruba because we are in Lagos is flawed. Lagos while being of Yoruba origin, no longer belongs to the Yorubas only. I say this as a Lagosian. If we remove the GDP contributed by other ethnic groups to Lagos’ GDP will it still be a mega economy? Somehow I doubt it.

If we want cultural preservation, the right approach is to ensure we present as much of a balanced view as we can to our children. A mandate for Yoruba only day does not work. What does civic education or social studies comprise of? We are culturally rich enough with materials to pass on and make actual learning fun for the kids.

I respectfully disagree with the Yoruba day agenda and believe a more positive approach would be to cross enroll the children in language and culture classes for there to be unity. I think they got it wrong on this one.

Sorry for my absence these days- I emotionally alternate between asking why I still blog and If I have anything valid to say….I am also not crazy about Instagram blogging and have been considering just leaving it all alone. Maybe it’s old age or just the blues…who knows.


2 Comments on What’s the Value in This?

  1. I actually laughed. Don’t worry, Miss Pynk. You’ll figure it out, just give it time. I’m guilty also.. though not in blogging.


  2. chrisyinks // March 8, 2018 at 15:24 // Reply

    I really didn’t think much of this new law – just as I don’t think much of this present government. Clearly this mandate is bereft of sound reasoning. While I applaud the much clamored need for the society to preserve its heritage, – integral to this, its language – and the government trying to meet such need, there are far better ways to accomplish this.

    And just like you Pynk, I have also resolved that I wouldn’t criticize a new law without proposing a better approach. A far better approach would have been for the government to ensure that groups of schools (for efficiency reasons) have excellent language teachers (Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa) and all pupils must choose a local language to study. It would also be nice to see this approach extended to African languages (French, Swahili, Amharic etc) and International Languages (Chinese, French, Spanish, German etc). It’s far easier for a child to pick up additional languages and science informs us that a child can pick up (fluently) as many as six languages. This would make our graduates globally competitive and internationally relevant. Quite frankly, the local Nigerian languages are almost useless (not a major language on the business scene), and a focus on mother tongue is a weak compelling factor for the student that knows his/her green pasture likely lies outside the borders of Nigeria. This focus on languages should be seen as clarion call to something bigger – something greater than learning local languages, but improving the communication skills of the Nigerian graduate.

    PS: Finland’s educational model still astounds me till today. I’ve checked their PISA and other rankings, and they do impressively and commendably well. Great output with minimal but well targeted efforts!


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