Re-Engineering Mother Tongue Education in Africa in the ICT Era: Issues and Challenges

Abstract:

The UNESCO (1953) Report has amply demonstrated the primacy of mother-tongue as the most effective and affective medium of instruction in the education process. However, the gains of mother-tongue education, especially in Africa, are fast receding into the mist of these contemporary times of ICT and globalization when virtually all discourses ranging from the pedestal to the most elevated are conducted in the so-called ‘globalised’ languages. In this paper, the possibility of re-tooling mother-tongue education in Nigeria in a manner that would reposition the indigenous languages for appropriating the various opportunities offered by the new information and communication technologies is explored. In this regard, the paper addresses the issues raised at the ‘African Languages and Internet Workshop held at Bamako (Mali) in May 2002 and makes a case for the adoption of a realistic language policy, which is well disposed to implementing the UNESCO (2003) recommendations regarding mother-tongue education. In this way, the education system would be strategically repositioned for the task of playing a complementary role of implementing the strategy set up by the ACALAN framework for the use and valorization of indigenous languages and cultures of Africa in the new information society.