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International Mother Language Day 2023: Multilingual Education as a Necessity to Transform Education


~ Department of Linguistics and African Languages, FUL Marks Event with Fanfare

Multilingual Education has been described as a necessity for transforming education in Nigeria. This is as the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2003a and 2003b) advocates for the right of children to learn in their native (mother) languages as a way of simplifying learning and preserving their cultural heritage.

No doubt, an individual who is educated in his or her mother tongue is able to imbibe cultural values that make him or her respect the values of the society just as language and culture are said to be intertwined. A society like Nigeria which has multilingual and multicultural resources is at an advantage in this era of globalization. 

It is against this backdrop that lecturers and students from the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, Federal University Lokoja (FUL) recently joined the rest of the world with fanfare to observe this year's International Mother Language Day on the theme: "Multilingual Education: A Necessity to Transform Education." 

The elated students of FUL took the buzz of the excitement around the entire campus with a band, jubilating and chanting in their glamourous cultural attires which created a convivial mood in the atmosphere. They sang and danced with great fervor while dressed colourfully in their various native costumes.

The commemoration reached a crescendo with the tumultuous welcome of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi by the jubilant students who trooped out and assembled at the front of the Administrative building to receive him.

While addressing the students during the auspicious event on February 21, 2023, the Vice-Chancellor reaffirmed his administration's commitment to the advancement of academic culture, academic excellence, and the welfare of the students. He used the occasion to also encourage the students to work hard and ensure they graduate with good grades at the completion of their programmes in the University.

Similarly, Professor Akinwumi reiterated Management's decision to provide work opportunities to outstanding students from every department of the University, particularly those who graduate with first-class honours. 

During the brief interaction, the VC commended the students for their positive attitude saying he was very proud of their charming and tenacious disposition. Professor Akinwumi, however, cautioned the students to avoid distractions and focus more on the primary goal they chose to study in FUL and ensure they graduate in record time.

In his remarks, the Ag. Head of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, Dr. Tosin Olagunju who led the students explained the rationale for celebrating International Mother Language Day. He extolled the value of mother languages in the education of linguists and highlighted their relevance in the transmission, acquisition, and sustainability of these mother languages while preventing their extinction.

Dr. Olagunju added that the efforts seek to remedy the anomaly being seen among Nigerians who hardly speak nor understand the value of their mother tongues. 

"It therefore becomes pertinent for educators and policymakers in Nigeria to shape the evolutions of national identity by maximizing the cultural, linguistic, and economic resources of our nation. Our language gives us our identity. Let us therefore always be proud of our mother language," he remarked. See more pictures here