The National Institute for Nigerian Languages (NINLAN), Aba, Abia State, has again pleaded to be included among tertiary education institutions in the country that are catered for, by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TeTFund).
Prof. Obiajulu Emejulu, executive director of the institute, made the appeal when he received in audience Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, chairman, Education Thematic Committee of TeTFund and President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and members of his committee in Aba.
He explained that, with TeTFund grants, NINLAN, would have the wherewithal to vigorously and successfully pursue and conclude its various researches that would immensely advance the country’s fortunes.
The NINLAN executive told the Ogunyemi-led committee that the role and mandate of the Institute were relevant to the achievements of the academic, technological and economic dreams of Nigeria.
According to Emejulu, “the Institute is in the process of training students, who will graduate to be teachers of sciences, using their mother tongue.
He explained that the innovation would contribute significantly in advancing the educational, scientific and economic status of the country.
He therefore urged Ogunyemi and his team to see the need to recommend for NINLAN to be mainstreamed in TeTFund stakeholders, a factor which would greatly boost the Institute’s contribution to national development.
Prof Solomon Oyetade, deputy executive director, NINLAN, explained to the visiting TeTFund team that “it is possible to teach the sciences in indigenous languages, and that makes for easier understanding, by students and pupils”.
Oyetade, a linguist, said, “it is better to teach pupils in their mother tongue than in a learned, foreign language”, as had been proved, by the countries of the Asian Tigers, whose economic revolution was as a result of their teaching science and technology with their mother tongue.
He stated that experts in Nigeria had also proved the assertion to be true, with the positive result from an experiment carried out in the 1980s, at Ife, by a former Minister of Education,Prof. Babatunde Aliyu Fafunwa.
Ogunyemi, the TeTFund team leader, in his response expressed positive disposition to the NINLAN request, and advised the executive director to send a formal proposal to the relevant offices.
Mr. Chris Nwankwor, head, Information, Protocol and Public Relations, NINLAN, stated that Ogunyemi was accompanied to the institute, by other prominent academics in the country , including, Chigozie Aziagbaka, a former vice-chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri; Francis Egbokhare, president, Nigerian Academy of Letters and Andy Iheme, technical director of TeTFund Committee.