Saturday, June 10, 2017


Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to share with you some of the topics of the books titled 'Iwe Kika Eketa' and 'Iwe Kika Ekarun' that were published in 1949 and 1950 respectively:

Irin (iron), Oorun(sun), Irawo(stars), Imototo (Cleanliness), Pini (manufacturing of pins), Awon egungun ati Mosili (The skeletal and muscular system), Labalaba (butterflies), Kokoro(insects), Aiye su (The world is round), Aiye tobi pupo (The world is enomously big), Enia (Human being), Irawo Oniru(Comets) etc.

Only few people would argue that these are not scientific issues meant to expose the children to the world they live in and to the surroundings – and even to technology at that school age.

These were topics we were introduced to us when we were in the primary school in our own language - Yoruba.  And of course, there were children of many ethnic origins in our class in those days since that was in the old Western Region. There was also active and massive migration from other parts of the country, particularly from Iboland. These people did not care whether their children could not or would not speak Yoruba.

You would ask, how did these children cope with the language issue then, and I would say, very well, because a lot of them did better than us – native speakers - in the subject matter. Now how were the non-indegenous children able to achieve the presumably insurmountably Herculean task? Easy. They just lived among us and soaked the language in. A child, of course begins to adjust to his enviroment immediately he is immersed into it. Why? He has to play with other children.  And the extra impetus of wanting to do well in the school gave them the reason.

The fair of multilingualism is the most bogus reason for not introducing science to our children as early as they can learn.  Of course, we can introduce Africa magic and religion to them at his tender age. This is crazy.

What is even crazier is that we are retrogressing and we do not know it. If, in 1949, we had texts capable of introducing these subjects to our children, how come we are debating the issue of feasibility and logistics in 2016?
Today, in most parts of Nigeria, you would not find estabishments devoted to science and technology. No research and development centers in any area of academic or industrial endeavour. – None! Yet our government spends billions of Naira propping up technology institutions. We are not even capable of producing science textbooks that are Afrocentric.

A child needs to be exposed to scientific thought processes as early as he can see and appreciate pictures – even before he can read, and in his own language. And long before he is shown a television picture of an African sacrificing someone to make money, or even religion.

What is craziest of all is waiting five or more years for the child to learn a foreign language before he is introduced to the name of the animals in his backyard.

Uh! Uh! Uh! 

On Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 9:14:34 AM UTC+1, Kayode J. Fakinlede wrote:

Findings based on science have come to the conclusion that using another person's language to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics is dangerous – dangerous - to our children, and to us adults too.

I itemize below, many reasons why this is the case:

1.       Our students, no matter how much they try, are at least five years behind those students who were taught in their native language.

2.       His level of understanding of the subject matter is significantly less than a child who is probably five years younger in the first place.

3.       Much knowledge of the surroundings is not transmitted to the child. This means that he may never know the use values or even the names of the plants and animals within his locality.

4.       Much knowledge about the the universe is not transmitted to the child. This means that the child is not exposed to the wonders of the heavens and things under the sea. Since he cannot receive the information till he learns a foreign language, he has very little chance of learning them at all.

5.       The level of appreciation of science and scientific reasoning is affected by the lateness in grasping scienctific methods. A mind already polluted with superstitious ideas cannot easily shed primitive ideas. For example, a Nigerian child may actually believe that money can come from human body parts – a la Africa Magic.

6.       The level of retention of the subject matter is much less – as much as 50% - over a period of one year compared with a child who was taught in his own language. This means that the student who is taught in a foreign language easily forgets what he learned.

7.       The use value of science and technology is much, much diminished in a child who leaned science and technology in a foreign language.

8.       The child is more likely prefer foreign things, materials, etc. to local things even when those local things are of better quality. This means he will prefer apples to mangoes.

9.       The child is more likely to think that his own language is inferior to the language with which he is being taught.  This inferiority carries on to adulthood.

10.   He child is more likely to think that the person in whose language he is learning is superior to him. This also carries to adulthood.

The disadvantages of not learning science and technology in our own language manifest themselves in adulthood. They affect the way we think and the way we see ourselves. They affect our creative abilities and ability to compete on the global stage. They affect our ability to become a technlogical society. In which case we cannot use science and technology to industrialize and create wealth.

It is therefore obviously evident that learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics in another person's language is dangerous to our existence.


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