Nigeria: Benue State Translates Science Textbooks Into Local Languages
As an ardent lover of languages and a passionate advocate of preserving certain aspects of our culture, language being one aspect, I applaud this move by Benue State.
In May of this year, the Benue State Universal Basic Education Board began translating science textbooks into Tiv dialect to promote ease of learning, preserve indigenous languages and encourage more students to explore science courses. As part of this initiative, there was a two-week teacher professional development workshop, with the theme “Strengthening Mathematics and Science Education (SMASE)“, and 200 teachers were expected to participate.
Before you – speakers of other local languages within the area – begin to feel marginalized, there are plans in the works to also translate the textbooks into Idoma and Igede dialects.
This translation initiative and accompanying workshop are part of the state government’s education plan, so it’s nice to see this plan begin to take shape in a concrete and impactful way.
Some could argue that rather than translate textbooks into local languages, society would be better off (and scarce resources maximized) if non-speakers of the english language were helped to become at least competent, or better still fluent, in english. After all, indigenous languages are exactly that – INDIGENOUS: localized to a small geographic area, spoken by few and destined to fade away. So it would be advantageous, even to the speakers of these indigenous languages, if they were to learn to speak the dominant lingua franca, (in this case, english), because it will help them, upon obtaining that science education, become productive citizens – able to earn a living, engage in national discourse and actively contribute to society (both locally and globally).
Do you agree with this train of thought or do you think this initiative is an inclusive move on the part of the Benue State government?
PS/ curious to know what other aspects of our culture I’m passionate about preserving? Well, send me an email and I’ll gladly respond with a list.