From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a new National Language Policy which makes mother tongue a compulsory medium of instruction from Primary 1 to 6.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents on the outcomes of the council meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
Even though he acknowledged that the government is aware that implementation will be challenging, he nevertheless revealed that for the first six years of education, mother tongue will be the only medium of instruction, and that it will then be combined with English starting in junior secondary school.
Adamu said even though the policy has officially taken effect, it can only be fully implemented when government develops instructional materials and qualified teachers are available.
Adamu explained 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.
He assured that all Nigeria languages are equal and will be treated as such.
He said: “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.”
The Minister said the decision is only in principle for now because it will require a lot of work to implement it.
“Theoretically, this policy starts form today but and the use of mother tongue is exclusive but we need time to develop the material, get the teachers and so on. 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.
Adamu said the council also approved consultancy services agreement between Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and a private company, for the upgrade of the portal on which the Board records candidates seeking for admission into higher institutions of learning.
The council also approved police property in Maitama in the Federal Capital Territory to be developed for benefit of senior officers, through PPP arrangement with Cosgrove Consortium.
The Minister of Information and Culture, who briefed on the ministry’s behalf, explained that our of the 39 units of houses the police will get 15, while Cosgrove will manage 24 houses for a number of years before handing over to the Police.
In the meantime, 1.5% of rent from the 24 housing units will go to police until then.
The Minister of State Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba on his part said, the council discussed the 2022 GDP indicators and performance for 3rd quarter. He said there was 2.25% improvement, though lower than 4% of same time last year.