Tutor-General/Permanent Secretary, Education District I, Barrister (Mrs.) Titilayo Solarin, has called for the preservation and promotion of the Yoruba Language values, customs and traditions for the next generation.
She made the call on Tuesday at Government Senior College in Agege, Lagos, during the maiden edition of Education District I Yoruba Cultural Day celebration, noting that the preservation and promotion of Yoruba Language will not only grow the economy but also attract more people to the Yoruba society.
Her words: “Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, let us all speak our indigenous language because it is our identity and we must not lose it. There is the need to promote indigenous languages, especially the Yoruba Language, because it is going into extinction and it will be a big shame on us as Yorubas to allow this to happen. This event is a platform to motivate students to be more acquainted with the Yoruba language”.
She explained that the rationale behind the various competitions at the event was to initiate healthy rivalry among the students to debate, answer quiz questions, read news and present poems in the Yoruba language with the aim of developing the students’ oral expressions, critical thinking, self-confidence and to sharpen their minds as well as improve their speaking, writing and listening skills.
“It will also foster unity among the schools within the District as well as in the State, as these students will learn not only how to socialise but they will also appreciate individual differences whilst putting aside all forms of social strata imposed on them by the society in a warm, friendly yet educative atmosphere”, she added.
The TG/PS maintained that the importance of language in any society cannot be overemphasised, stressing that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the Yoruba Language does not go into extinction.
Mrs. Solarin said, “Language serves as a strong means of communication in every society and as a veritable means of teaching all strata of the society. The Yoruba language is an indicator of cultural identity; a child can connect to his parents, family, culture, history, identity and religion through the Yoruba Language which links a child with the culture of the society”.
“The World Bank and the UNESCO’s studies on basic education have all indicated that children learned faster, better and eagerly when instructed in their mother tongue. It is in the light of this that the Lagos State Government signed the bill on Yoruba Language Preservation and Promotion Law in February 2018”.
“The Law mandates the teaching of Yoruba Language in both public and private schools in the State. The law also made it compulsory for all State-owned tertiary institutions to integrate the use of the language as a course into their General Nigerian Studies (GNS)”, she noted.
While thanking Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the great strides in the areas of infrastructural development and welfare of the students and teachers, the TG/PS urged School Principals to also embark on interschool and interclass debates in the Yoruba Language in order to help the students perform better. She implored parents to use their indigenous languages at home to communicate with the children.
“Speak Yoruba to your children, teach them how to greet in the local dialect and make sure they understand and speak it fluently. If the parents can do this, it will be much easier for the children to catch up when they are being taught in school. Let us all be happy and proud to speak our indigenous language”, she asserted.
The District Coordinator, Yoruba Teachers Association, Education District I, Mrs Yemi Owolabi, said the students, who participated in the various competitions, performed beyond expectations.
She urged the students not to let the Yoruba language die, saying they should continue to practise and speak the language everywhere they go.
The event featured several Yoruba performances by the District students in cultural dance, quiz competition, poem, debate, newscasting and drama. There was also an exhibition of several Yoruba cultural artefacts including Egungun and Sango clothes, baskets and calabashes