Before Yoruba Language Goes Into Extinction
It sounds so absurd to learn that English Language is being used to teach Yoruba Language in Nigerian schools.
Most pupils hardly speak Yoruba both at home and in school anymore. Today, English Language is not only spoken, it is now being used as a measure of intelligence among some set of people.
Any pupil who speaks Yoruba is regarded as unintelligent even when he or she is making sense.
And despite the proliferation of English Language among youths, most adults speak better grammar.
The adults had learnt both English and Yoruba languages unassumingly for better education and according to Professor Sofie Oluwole, none of the languages is superior to another.
Sometimes, the government made it compulsory for every pupil to offer one of the three major local languages in Nigeria that is Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo as a subject in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, WASSCE.
The idea gradually faded away. At present pupils cannot express themselves effectively in English and Yoruba Languages. In the last 10 years, on the average, less than 40 per cent of WAEC candidates obtain credit in English Language.
To Lagos State House of Assembly, many pupils cannot communicate effectively in English because they find it difficult to speak good Yoruba Language.
To the lawmakers, the adults who speak good English have been found to also speak good Yoruba Language.
Currently, the state house of assembly is championing the return of Yoruba as a compulsory subject in the southwest schools.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Mr Lanre Ogunyemi is sponsoring a bill for a “Law To Provide for the Preservation and Promotion of the Use of Yoruba Language and for Connected Purposes’’.
The bill is to make the teaching and learning of Yoruba a compulsory subject in all schools, including the state-owned tertiary institutions.
The bill is also proposing a fine of N500, 000 or closure of any school that flouts it if it eventually becomes a law.
Before now, the state House of Assembly had reserved a day in which the lawmakers used Yoruba Language to conduct its plenary.
The new bill also recommends the translation of all the laws in the state into Yoruba language in order to get to its target.
As a matter of fact, the lawmakers want every state-owned tertiary institution to integrate Yoruba into their General Studies Curriculum as a core course.
While he was the Minister of Education, the late Professor Babatunde Fafunwa proposed that all subjects being taught in schools should be rewritten in indigenous languages so that pupils would have a better understanding of it.
To him, such country as Chinese had developed so fast because it had leveraged on its language as the medium of communication and teaching in schools.
Fafunwa wanted all core science subjects, including Mathematics to be taught in Nigerian languages. He was so sure that it would work and help the country to develop faster but his idea died with him.
It has been observed that most pupils fail because they do not understand English language while their indigenous languages have been relegated and gradually going into extinction.
Now that Lagos has started, there are indications that the idea will not take long before spreading to other parts of the Yoruba speaking states.