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Scholars Challenge Trend Of Neglecting Indigenous Languages In African Education

by InlandTown Editor
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African Education

Scholars have called for a significant shift in African education during an inaugural lecture of the Lawani Series on Decolonisation, which was organized by the Uyi and Rachel Lawani Foundation and the West African Transitional Justice Centre.

The event, which was moderated by Eric Usifoh, a distinguished professor of Philosophy at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, had as one of its panelists, Sola Olorunyomi, a prominent professor at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.

Speaking on the theme “Talking Decolonisation Beyond Symbolism,” Professor Olorunyomi emphasized the profound impact of colonialism on African societies. He pointed out that colonialism had left an indelible mark on various aspects of life, including education, culture, legal systems, and economics.

“Colonialism’s impact is deeply rooted, and colonization has influenced our educational systems, our legal frameworks, economics, and our cultural narratives,” Olorunyomi stated. He argued that decolonization is a multifaceted endeavor that demands unwavering commitment from all.

Incorporating Indigenous Perspectives

Olorunyomi advocated for the inclusion of diverse perspectives, voices, and narratives from indigenous systems in education. He stressed that this approach would help elevate marginalized histories and challenge the dominance of the Eurocentric curriculum.

“In our journey towards decolonization, it is essential that we move beyond symbolism and shallow gestures and instead focus on meaningful, substantive changes,” he asserted.

Olorunyomi also addressed the concerning trend of African parents refusing to teach their children indigenous languages, opting for European languages like French or German instead. He highlighted the detrimental impact of this practice on both the children and the nation’s future.

Decolonising Legal and Governance Structures

Beyond education, Olorunyomi argued that decolonization should extend to legal and governance structures, including laws and policies enacted during the colonial era. He emphasized that a language’s global prominence due to historical reasons should not justify its abandonment.

“Your language will always be the most significant in life forever,” he asserted, drawing parallels to the historical significance of Latin, Greek, and Arabic languages.

Meanwhile, Mr. Eric Usifoh, the moderator of the lecture, called for the practical application of the theories shared by Olorunyomi and other scholars. He stressed that ideas should stimulate practical action, particularly in addressing social realities.

“Look at all the developed countries of the world; which developed nation uses another man’s language? I think that summarizes my view,” Usifoh added.

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