Mother Tongue Education as Agency of Decolonisation: Implications for National Development in Nigeria

Abstract:

This paper focuses on mother tongue system of schooling as an instrument of decolonisation and a catalyst for sustainable national development in Nigeria. It seeks to determine the extent to which mother tongue disability of the Nigerian school child is a product of neocolonialism and explore the possibility of re-inventing mother-tongue education system as agency of decolonisation. This thesis derives from the fact that the national development or its sustainable development of any given nation is strongly tied to developed human capital, which is the driving force of all other resources. Against the backdrop of Language-in-Education Policies, which are long in glorifying the pedagogic value of mother tongue but short in implementation strategies, the paper identifies mother tongue disability of the Nigerian school child as the ‘dividend’ of colonialism and neocolonialism through the instrumentality of the English language. This calls for a radical paradigm shift in language teaching methodology that supports the revalorisation of the indigenous languages as the standard medium of instruction in early childhood education in Nigeria. For the purpose of rolling back the deculturalisation process and ensure proper early childhood development, the paper calls for re-invention of mother tongue system of schooling. In this way, the Nigerian school child would be eminently predisposed to human capacity building process that ultimately leads to sustainable national development.