THEME: LITERACY AND MULTILINGUALISM
This year’s International Literacy Day, Literacy and multilingualism’s commemoration in Kwara State was coordinated by three organizations: FOMWAN, IVESS, and RHHF with support from CSACEFA National. Several activities were carried under the umbrella of CSACEFA in collaboration with the State Government towards the commemoration.
On the first day of the event, letter of invitation and notification were distributed to relevant stakeholders in the state, this serves as a means of inviting and notifying them of the events.
Letters were distributed across the state to invite the stakeholders for participation and discussion on the theme of the 2019 Literacy Day- Literacy and Multilingualism. The following Ministries, Agency, parastatals, and individuals were invited to the stakeholders’ forum:
- House of Assembly
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development
- State Universal Basic Education
- Agency for Mass Literacy
- Department of Literacy and Languages, College of Education Ilorin
- School-Based Management Committee, State Chapter
- CSACEFA, State Chapter
- Learners, Adult Literacy
- Nigerian Union of Teachers
- Parent Teachers Association
On the second day, a phone-in radio program and interviews were conducted with the Chairman, House Committee on Education from Kwara State House of Assembly; Students and Lecturers from Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin.
The one-hour phone-in program was held on Royal FM Radio Station to sensitize the general public on the commemoration of the International Literacy and educate them on the importance of this year’s theme and its positive effect on the quality education delivery and better learning outcomes for the children. The essence of the interview was to harvest their views about the use of native language as a language of instruction for children in the elementary basic education level more also to share their views on the theme which is Literacy and Multilingualism.
Reactions from the public via SMS, WhatsApp and phone calls were received. 99% of the respondents agreed that the introduction of multilingualism is a welcome idea for improved learning outcomes and the preservation of our culture. Respondents agreed that both parents and government have roles to play. While parents should be sensitized on the importance of children getting grounded in their mother tongue by entrenching it right from home, the government should enact a law to make it compulsory in early basic level as a language of instruction, while mother tongue should be taught as a subject at the higher basic level.
On the third day, a stakeholders’ meeting was held where a retired Director of Agency for Mass Literacy did justice to the topic: The Roles of Parents and Government in Promoting Literacy and Multilingualism in Elementary Basic Education Level. In conclusion, after the presentation, the participants contributed to the issues raised and provided their insight on the way forward on the matter.
The country’s image can be boosted through the preservation of the indigenous language at home and in our schools as this will enhance the restoration and dignity of the nation already lost to foreign cultures. An Islamic Religious University is already making the study of Arabic compulsory for all students in the University irrespective of religious background. No student can graduate without passing it as a subject. If this is implementable at this level with students striving to pass it, it is strongly possible that making the indigenous language compulsory in our schools is also implementable. If this is accomplished, the challenges of teachers’ inability to express themselves in English to their pupils thereby affecting the quality of education delivery will be minimized.