Language Policy, Mothertongue Education and the Role of the Nigerian Language Teacher in Nigerian Language Education

Abstract:

The paper aims at providing the function of the mother tongue and/or the language of the immediate community in a nation state like Nigeria. The paper is important because Nigeria is a political state with many nationalities. The position of the indigenous languages of the federating nationalities is threatened by English, a colonial language, hoisted on the Nigerian peoples from the advent of colonialism. The paper therefore tries to x-ray the position of these indigenous languages against that of English. It relates the position of the indigenous languages one against the other and their collective position against English. Furthermore, it analyses the possibility of developing Nigeria and its economy in such a debilitating position and highlights the difficulty of Nigeria making progress with a colonial language. It further gives an insight into how different developed and emerging economies in the world have harnessed their indigenous languages to drive their economies. It adopts a descriptive cum survey approach in its methodology. It discovers that all major economies in the world use their indigenous languages as official languages. It consequently feels that until the indigenous Nigerian languages are accorded the official position they deserve and English demoted to the status of foreign language just as French or Arabic, educating Nigerians will continue to be difficult. If educating Nigerians is made difficult, then developing Nigeria will continue to be a mirage: the country will continue to lie prostrate with the English language as a medium of instruction in Nigerian schools. Consequently, it recommends that Federal Government of Nigeria should make concerted efforts to implement the Nigerian Policy on Education by putting visible structures in place to raise the policy from a mere paper work to a utilitarian policy.