by Sesan Olufowobi
The Lagos State House of Assembly was on Tuesday divided over the proposed introduction of Chinese language in the state’s school curriculum.
It subsequently summoned the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, to appear before the House on Tuesday next week.
The representative of Ajeromi-Ifelodun in the Assembly, Mr. Abdulbak Balogun, had drawn the attention of the House to a statement credited to Oladunjoye over the introduction of Chinese language to public schools.
Balogun said, “Why Chinese language in our public schools? If we want our children to learn Chinese language, why not in the university where they learn linguistics?”
Another lawmaker, Mr. Rotimi Olowo, wondered the relevance of the language to the socio-economic development of the state and the country.
He said, “Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa languages should be made compulsory instead of the Chinese language.”
However, another lawmaker, Mrs. Lola Akande, said the introduction of Chinese language was not a bad idea because China is the second largest economy in the world and also regarded as super power in terms of technology advancement.
She said, “The introduction of Chinese language would not disrupt the school curriculum, rather, it will strengthen the relationship between Nigeria and China.”
The Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, said there was the need for Nigerian students to learn as many languages as possible. He added that the introduction of the Chinese language would not have any negative impact on the students.
He said, “Most of the countries I have visited, you see a child of less than 15 years speaking about three or more languages and this has not prevented them from learning their local languages as well.
“The introduction of Chinese language would not affect other languages we speak. It is good for us to learn as many languages as possible.”
He directed that the commissioner should brief the assembly on the methods and preparations for the introduction of the new language in schools.
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