The new directive of the Federal Government to the effect that pupils in elementary schools should from now on be taught in local languages is an ill wind that will bring no one any good in the long run.
The reason is not far-fetched. The directive ignored completely the heterogeneity of each of the states of the federation and the fact that there are many non-indigenes living in different parts of the country as teachers who cannot speak the languages of their local community. In such a situation, how will such teachers cope with the new directive? How will an Igbo man teaching in Lagos communicate with his pupils in Yoruba for instance? Or is the directive a subtle order for everyone to return to his state so that every state will bear its own burden?
It is hoped that those saddled with the responsibility of drafting education policies for Nigeria would always think through issues properly before making pronouncements on them. A situation where policies are introduced abruptly without proper consideration for all the parties involved is a recipe for more damage to the education sector.
Jide Oyewusi, coordinator of Ethics Watch International, Lagos.