Teaching of mathematics and sciences with the local languages.

The Minister of Education Prof. Ogbonnaya Onu has announced the proposal of using indigenous languages to teach Science and Mathematics as a way of helping the children to learn better. However, lack of adequate indigenous Language teachers and Science teachers who can speak their indigenous language as well as the presence of children from diverse ethnic backgrounds in classes are some of the factors that will affect the success of such proposal.

The proposal since the announcement have evoked many reactions from people ——–

Prof Jerry Orhue, from Biochemistry department University of Benin said it’s not going to be easy, he questioned ‘How are they going to teach science and technology subjects in indigenous languages when majority of those who are going to teach do not even understand their indigenous languages’ to him it’s laughable. Again which language do you use in teaching a class made up of Ibo Edo, and Efik or any other tribe what happens to other tribes?

For Prof Sam Onuigbo of English department UNN, teaching  Science and Technology in vernacular is a very lofty idea, but like all lofty ideas, the practical aspect are not as easy as envisaged, for many reasons. For him, it is a ‘good idea but requires time, research and preparation.

More reactions from people. For Mrs Izundu k, a seasoned education administrator “How wonderful it will be to teach Mathematics and Science in native languages, it will demystify the subjects, the phobia students have over them. But realistically this will take time because the books for those subjects are not written in our local languages, which means that teachers have to be sound in the native languages for them to be able to give good interpretation. We should not be discouraged it is a welcome idea and a challenge for both the students and the teachers to learn more about our local languages”

The story is different for a barrister at law Mr Peter Johnson “We should talk about things that are realistic , how are you going to teach Chemistry and Physics in native languages, are you going to manufacture names for all the scientific names, and if such is done the true meaning is lost. The government should know better, there

are so many children that are out of school due to poor financial status of their parents, such children should be assisted to get formal education, most of the public schools are in very poor condition, ranging from open roof, no windows, doors, even seats to sit for learning. If the government should fix all of the above, they would have raised the standard of education to a commendable stage. Teaching of Mathematics and Sciences in the local languages as proposed by the Honourable Minister is highly unrealistic and waste of public fund’’!

The students are not left out John, a basic six pupil has this to say ‘’I am from the eastern part of the country, I do not understand my language, I can’t write it, how then will I be able to understand Mathematics and Sciences if they are taught in the native language, the only language I understand is English”. Hauwa is an undergraduate and has this to say,” We as a country have more pressing education issues to handle than the teaching of Mathematics and Sciences in our local language. The government should look into the issues of strikes  in our various institutes of learning,  meeting the needs of teaching and non –teaching staff of schools, providing adequate learning infrastructures,  all these and more are more important”

Mrs Ojeikere, mother of two is really worried about the misplaced priorities of our government, we are talking about teaching of Mathematics and Sciences in our local languages when we have many children not being able to go school, when poverty is seriously causing havoc in our society, they should please do the right things first!”  

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