Indigenous language implementation and nation building: the Nigerian experience
The National Policy on Education has done well to cover education levels ranging from the early childhood/pre-primary, to the primary and the secondary school levels. It even emphasized the use of mother tongue at the kindergarten and nursery school levels. Yet our educators at the kindergarten and nursery school merely pay lip-service to it. Despite the fact that the language policy on education emphasized the use of mother tongue at these levels as a medium of instruction, the English language continues to dominate our indigenous languages because it has been adopted at the kindergarten and nursery school levels. The study is a survey of Nigerian indigenous language implementation and use in the pre-primary schools in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. Thirty-five preprimary schools were selected for the study. They represented three categories of pre-primary schools in Ekiti State as follows: government-owned/public schools, missionary schools and private schools. A six-item questionnaire was used to collect data from the three categories of pre-primary schools. For proper presentation, the paper focused on quest for national integration, ethnicity and dialectal differences, the policy, why the kindergarten and nursery schools, a study of sampled pre-primary schools in Ado-Ekiti, and the challenges of indigenous language policy implementation in Nigerian early childhood/pre-primary schools. The study identified some problems, which include lack of teachers specialized in Child Education, proliferation of private schools, and lack of adequate supervision by the appropriate body. The paper concluded by giving suggestions and recommendations towards the proper implementation and use of Nigerian indigenous languages in preprimary schools via in-depth and focused supervision.
Keywords: Indigenous languages, Policy implementation, Nation building, Early childhood, Nigeria