Mother Tongue Education and Pedagogic Disability of the Nigerian School Child

Abstract:

This paper examines the status of mother tongues in pre-primary and primary schools in Nigeria, the attendant pedagogic disability of the school child, and the need to formulate and implement intervention strategies for the revalorization of the local languages as medium of instruction in classroom environment. The results of a national survey research on the pedagogic status of a sample of Nigerian languages in selected pre-primary and primary schools in seven States reveal that they ‘enjoy’ near zero pedagogic significance. This ‘English-only’ policy diminishes the established gains of mother tongue education; contravenes the statutory provisions of Child’s Rights Act of 2003; and constitutes a grave pedagogic challenge to early childhood development of a typical Nigerian school child. This paper argues for an L1-based system that provides a bridge to acquiring literacy in languages of wider communication.