Barriers to indigenous language learning and their use in Nigerian schools: the Yoruba language experience

Layọ̀ Ogúnlọlá


It is a known fact that in most West African states and particularly in Nigeria, Indigenous language teaching and language use have suffered serious setbacks. The blame has been put severally. People who had their primary and post-primary education in Nigeria would agree that despite the emphasis laid on the teaching and use of English language in our schools today, a large percentage of school children, and students still fail the subject. This paper examines the barriers to effective Indigenous language teaching and language use in Nigerian schools, using the Yorùbá language as reference point. The paper goes into the past and investigates the socio-political forces operating within the history of the nation, Nigeria. It observes that a number of factors militate against effective learning and the use of indigenous languages in schools. These include speaker’s comportment, non-availability of trained and qualified teachers, non-challant attitude of education administrators and the like. It also examines the possible consequences on the entire nation. Our findings reveal that partial or total neglect of the teaching and learning of indigenous languages brings the nation backward. The paper concludes that unless all stakeholders in the education sector have a re-think, emphasize and enforce the teaching and use of the child’s native language in schools, the society may not be better off.


Barrier, Language, Indigenous, Learning, Use.

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