Federal government says mother tongues will henceforth be adopted as the mode of instruction in primary schools.
Adamu Adamu, minister of education, said this on Wednesday while speaking with journalists after a meeting of the federal executive council (FEC).
The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Adamu said the federal government understands that implementation will be challenging, adding that the mother tongue will be combined with English language from junior secondary school level.
The mother tongue is the language a person is first introduced to as a child.
“A memo on national policy was approved by the council. So, Nigeria now has a national language policy and the details will be given later by the ministry,” Adamu said.
“One of the highlights is that the government has agreed now that henceforth, instruction in primary schools — the first six years of learning — will be in the mother tongue.
“Theoretically, this policy starts from today, but the use of mother tongue is exclusive. We need time to develop the material, get the teachers, and so on.
“Since the first six years of school should be in the mother tongue, the language of the host community is what will be used because we have 625 languages at the last count and the objective of this policy is to promote and enhance the cultivation and use of all Nigerian languages.”
Adamu said the policy is informed by the extinction of some local languages and the government’s determination to preserve cultures.
He added that all Nigerian languages will be prioritised.