By ImamMalik Abdullahi Kaga
The rate at which vernacular speaking is becoming rampant in schools (public and private) is so alarming. From elementary to secondary school, our children develop the ability to speak English or Arabic. But, without learning and practising it constantly, you can never be fluent in a language.
English is the official language in Nigeria, yet many people find it challenging to communicate with it. To convey your thoughts or ideas effectively and get well understood by others in many parts of the world, you must have the ability to communicate with the promising language – English because it’s a global language.
It’s regrettable and disappointing that a graduate with a bachelor’s degree or postgrad degree cannot speak or write in the official language appropriately. This, no doubt, results from one’s failure to learn it right from primary and secondary years (childhood). We cannot deny that most of us – northerners – have this weakness. But what could’ve led to this terrible mistake? First, the communication medium in our school days is often our mother tongue (Hausa).
Sadly, most schools don’t emphasise the need to use English to communicate among pupils or students. Some in question subscribe to the idea that (the English) language doesn’t determine one’s intelligence. Arguably, it is not, but we should consider the awful effect of not being able to use it correctly.
To be candid, you hardly find pupils or students communicating in English and Arabic (for bilingual schools) during school hours. For example, some teachers contribute to the escalation of this menace.
Some teach using vernacular, while others aren’t willing to prevent pupils or students from speaking it (vernacular). However, some unwisely claim that the students need a clear explanation of the treated topic. Hence, they use the local dialects to explain. This, however, doesn’t justify explaining lessons in local dialects because educationists have many teaching strategies.
Accordingly, teachers have this “disgusting” habit of speaking to students in the local dialects during class hours or break time. The students respond equally in the local dialects. During break hours, students communicate in the local languages without fear of being caught and penalised for that because the schools they attend don’t impose or simply disregard the rule.
If the abovementioned issue prevails, the coming generations will most likely succumb to the temptations to communicate in their mother tongue. Therefore, school proprietors and their managements should wake up from their deep slumber and confront this issue head-on, which helps deteriorate our education standard.
I believe teachers and prefects are the most powerful “tools” that could influence the students to comply with this because they play vital roles in shaping and correcting the students/pupils if they tend to stray.
ImamMalik Abdullahi Kaga wrote from Borno State University via email@example.com.