Eight Nigerian teachers sponsored to US to teach Yoruba in varsities, colleges

Eight Nigerian teachers have been sponsored to travel to the United States to teach Yoruba language and culture in the universities and colleges for one academic session.

The teachers will travel to the US under the 2023 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program (FLTA).

This was disclosed by the US Missions in Nigeria via Instagram account on Saturday.

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According to the message, the beneficiaries are expected to polish their teaching skills and share their experience in the American society to solidify the relationships between the two countries.

“Join us in wishing the 2023 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program (FLTA) scholars a rewarding teaching assignment!,” the US Consulate said.

“Eight Nigerian teachers are departing for the United States to teach Yoruba language and culture to American students in U.S. universities and colleges for one academic session.

“During the program, participants will refine their teaching skills and extend their knowledge of the society and culture of the United States while strengthening the ties between Nigeria and the United States.”

The Fulbright FLTA Program is a nine-month, ECA-funded, non-degree program for early career (not more than seven years of teaching experience) English teachers or professionals in related fields to teach their native language in an American college or university.

In a related development, a professor of Yoruba Language and Literature at the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Olagoke Alamu in an interview with Tribune stressed on the need of using native languages to teach in Nigerian schools.

Alamu, who recently produced a textbook in Yoruba for Chinese universities offering Yoruba Language as a course to be taught to their students, a first of its kind in China, said the Nigerian government must emulate the development by encouraging teaching of students in local languages for effective learning, among other issues.

According to him “ We have been talking about this over the years that we have good National Policy on Education and we have good language provisions in them and the rest. The language of instruction for the first three years in primary school should be the mother tongue or the language of the immediate environment, those things are there. Then, from primary four to six, you can now switch to English language to teach. We have been telling the government that students perform better when they learn in their local languages than in the English language. That is what countries like Japan, China and other countries are doing. Let me tell you that there are professors that could not communicate in English except in their own languages. So, Nigeria will benefit more if we can develop resources for teaching in our native languages; we have those provisions in the National Policy on Education, but the implementation has always been the issue. We will still continue to advise the government to invest in [indigenous] language development and it should start from the top. We thank God that in Lagos State, for instance, on two days of the week, they run the business of the legislative arm in Yoruba and we are trying to see if other states in the South-West can really adopt this. We are developing materials, what we call legislative terminology, in mechanical engineering, sciences, mathematics and the rest. So, if we have all these things, then I don’t know what the problem should be, why we cannot adopt our own languages for instructions.”

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