Saturday, June 10, 2017


I write this to respond to some of the issues raised by Madam Tina Edebor in particular, and to many of us who, either because I have not made myself clear enough, have not adequately grasped the point I am making.

First of all, I am not really addressing the issue of effective instructional methodology which I am sure, by its very name, means finding methods of effectively delivering instrunctions to a group, in this case, children.  If this were the case, the issue of whether the instruction is delivered in English or some other language would be pertinent.

I, too, have had the opportunity to teach in high schools, both in Nigeria and here. And I have been priviledged to teach in universities here and in Nigeria as well. My humble conclusion is that, given the same materials and under the same circumstances, Nigerian children would most likely outperform their American counterparts in exams. Secondly, Nigerian students do very well among their peers in America here.

Now my point is what I consider science education to be or what it is supposed to achieve. I believe that because of the method we choose to educate our children, they are not getting what is due to them. Because we choose to educate them in a foreign language,

1.       most Nigerian children are not gaining the knowledge of their surroundings as they should. They do not know or are not taught the names of plants, mountains, animals, rivers, etc. within their own locality. This is a primary objective of science education

2.       most Nigerian children are not exposed to the knowledge of the universe. They cannot name the stars, planets, the solar system, seas, oceans, etc. at an apprpriate age.

3.       a large percentage of Nigerian students go through life, therefore without the appreciation of these ideas.

4.       a large percentage of Nigerian students show appreciation for superstitious ideas and religion over and above scientific ideas because they were not introduced to scientific ideas as early as they were introduced to these other ideas.

5.       most Nigerians, on graduating from universities and colleges of technology will not find any usefulness for the science and technology ideas they gained in school, either because the ideas are not meaningful to them, because the ideas do not permeate their consciousness well enough to drive their life ambitions, or cannot find a connection between the ideas and their livelihood. Many of these go back to tailoring or hairdressing upon graduation, except if they can manage to secure some government job.

6.       Most Nigerian graduates of the hard sciences really do not have a real connection between scientific ideas and life, making it almost impossible to benefit from the ideas.

7.       A large percentage of Nigerian graduates, because of the way they were trained prefer things that are foreign even when their own materials are of the same quality or better.

On a grander scale, our method of science education does not permit the application of local materials to benefit us. We may have many millions of mangoes but we cannot mango juice. In many instances, our graduates do not have the knowledge of how chocolate comes from cocoa. The knowledge of the efficacy of our own plants in medicine is lacking; and the common 'acid' test of our science and technology graduates is, we cannot make even toothpicks.

I rest my case


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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