The Relation between Language and Science, Technology, and Mathematics in Nigerian Schools


The study focuses on importance of language proficiency in the learning of science, technology and mathematics (STM) with attention given to the review of research studies on language and STM within the context of the debate on choice of mother tongue as a language of instruction in Nigerian schools. The obvious bias on the continual use of the English Language as a medium of instruction in STM at the secondary school level is evident. The discussion was supported with the report of a study in which students’ performance in English Language, and in each of mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, technical drawing, further mathematics and agricultural science in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) were correlated. Also, students’ performance in Yoruba Language (an indigenous language) and in each of Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Technical Drawing, Further Mathematics and Agricultural Science in WASSCE were correlated. The findings revealed significant positive correlation between English Language and each of the six STM subjects. Also there was a significant positive correlation between Yoruba Language and each of the six STM subjects. Mathematics and agricultural science had the strongest relationship with English Language, a trend observed with Yoruba Language. While English Language should continually be used as a medium of instruction in STM classes at the secondary school level, Nigeria should strive to develop one of her numerous indigenous languages not only to serve as a lingua franca but as a medium of instruction in STM classes.