COUNCIL, STAKEHOLDERS MEET ON NATIONAL LANGUAGE POLICY BLUEPRINT
The Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council has embarked on consultations with relevant stakeholders to see to the development of a National Language Policy Blueprint. These campaigns have already taken-off in the various zones of the federation.
At the opening of the campaign at the South-West Zone, Ibadan, on Friday, 4th June, 2021, the Executive Secretary, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, in his address, noted that the yearnings to develop a National Policy on Language for Nigeria was “borne out of the Federal Government’s conviction that the multilingual nature of the Nigerian society can be harnessed to the nation’s huge advantage”. According to him, “the entrenchment of a National Language Policy is critical and strategic to the drive towards national dignity and unity; preservation and development of languages and cultures; political participation and good governance; as well as equitable access to quality and productive education”, among others.
Prof. Junaidu noted that its importance necessitated the inclusion of the development of the National Policy in the Ministerial Strategic Plan for Education in Nigeria (Education for Change, 2018 – 2022).
The Executive Secretary revealed that it was based on the Minister of Education’s directive towards the development of National Language Policy that the Council met with relevant stakeholders drawn from the Linguistics Association of Nigeria (LAN); members of the academia; federal ministries and agencies; among others, to develop the draft National Language Policy.
In the same vein, he informed the assembled stakeholders that the essence of the meeting was to aggregate and accommodate the views and perspectives of all relevant sectors and bodies in the National Language Policy.
In her remark, the former Director of Language Development Centre and now, the Director of Special Programme Centre, Dr. Margaret Lawani, hinted that the project, when successfully executed, would bring about a turning point in the recognition, development and use of languages (especially the indigenous languages) in Nigeria.
A brief background on the language policy provision in the National Language Policy on Education, 1977 (revised in 1981, 1988, 2004 and 2013) stipulates that the medium of instruction at the lower primary school level (Primary 1 -3) shall be the language of the immediate environment for monolingual communities while English shall be taught as a subject.
The stakeholders' Consultative Forum has already taken place in the geo-political zones of the South-West, held at the University of Ibadan, on 4th June, 2021; the Northern zones (under one umbrella) was held in Abuja on Wednesday, 16th June, 2021; and the South-South and South-East zones took place in Lagos, on Friday, 18th June, 2021.
The breakdown of the meetings held to develop the draft copy of the National Language Policy are as follows:
- First Technical Committee meeting held 13th – 15th October, 2020, to harmonize all previous efforts by various stakeholders on the project.
- Development of NLP draft workshop (26th January – 1st February, 2021), to develop a draft NLP Blueprint; and
- Appraisal workshop, with a new set of critical stakeholders held from 25th March – 3rd April, 2021, to appraise the draft policy document.