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Nigeria Legislates to Teach in Native Languages

Nigeria Legislates to Teach in Native LanguagesIn what can be classified as a show of nationalism, Nigeria has approved a policy that will allow students in all primary schools (the first six years of learning), to be taught in their native language. To date, English, the official language of the country, has been the primary language for education. While Nigeria gained its independence from the British Empire in 1960 after nearly a century of being under British rule, the official language has remained English.

Nigeria is home to over 500 indigenous languages, so implementing this policy will not be immediate. A major factor in the implementation will be the availability of materials in the various native languages.

The prior education policy stated that children in monolingual communities would be taught in their native language for the first three years. The main obstacle to this policy was having access to enough educational resources in those languages to support education.

The adoption of class materials into these native languages to support the new policy will take time, funding, and native, qualified speakers to translate the English materials into the native languages.

While implementing the policy will be slow and most likely challenging, it will help preserve the native languages of Nigeria. Additionally, in more rural areas where English is less common, it will facilitate learning in those regions.


To read more: A new policy for Nigerian languages in the country’s education system