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Educationist blames mothers for children’s inability to speak Igbo language

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An educationist, Dr. Nkechi Udeze, has blamed parents especially mothers on the inability of their wards and children to learn, read and write in Igbo language due to their nonchalant attitude at the child’s early developmental years to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

Udeze, thus, has embarked on an advocacy campaign aimed at sensitising parents and guardians as well as educational and religious authorities on the need to teach their children and wards in their mother tongue at home, school and church.

She blamed nursing mothers, who, from the time of breast feeding their babies, speak to them in English language rather than Igbo language, especially when the babies bite their breasts while sucking.

Udeze’s Igbo language awareness and preservation campaigns to mark this year’s International Mother Language Day proclaimed by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which was themed, Languages without Borders, held at the Children’s Heritage Corner and Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Awka, Anambra State.

It was organised by Mandatory Continuing Professional Development Programme (MCPDP) for midwives.

Udeze, who is the state’s director, observed that languages are most powerful tools to preserve and develop cultural heritage, stressing that sensitisation and promotional campaigns to disseminate mother tongues would help to encourage linguistic diversity, multilingual education, and develop linguistic an awareness and understanding.

She said languages, by way of sustainable transmission and preservation of traditional knowledge and cultures, have made it possible for multi-legalistic and multi-cultural societies to survive and thrive.

She also commended the state government for signing into law the bill making it compulsory for residents of the state to speak only Igbo language and wear traditional attires to work.

To rescue Igbo language, she said the home, school; church, business environment and media should champion the cause of ensuring the children are agents to sustain the promotion and preservation of Igbo language.

Meanwhile, building on the legacy of the International Year of Indigenous Languages and as follow up to a decision on United Nations General Assembly, UNESCO and the Government of Mexico, in cooperation with several national, regional and international partners, are organising an event themed, Making a decade of action for indigenous languages on the margins of the International Congress on Endangered Languages at Risk. The event, which started yesterday, ends today, in Mexico City, Mexico.

The main objective is to establish a constructive dialogue between key agents involved in addressing the problem of threatened languages, based on the presentation and analysis of experiences in favour of linguistic diversity and linguistic rights.

In order to do so, the congress will: analyse the international context of indigenous languages to make visible the seriousness of the problem and its causes; promote the exchange of experiences that allow the identification and creative design of good practices and policies for multilingualism; analyse the importance of the promotion of indigenous languages within the framework of the 2030 Agenda; gather a series of conclusions that can enrich the lines of action for the Decade of Indigenous Languages.

To foster an enriching dialogue between the different key agents — indigenous intellectual leaders, public servants and academics- the dialogue will be organised into two categories: Experiences of promotion, planning and revitalisation from non-governmental initiatives in areas such as education, media, new technologies, social networks, linguistic rights, expressions artistic, community organisation, among others; and experiences from the public sector to promote linguistic diversity in institutional spaces.

The event will conclude with a comprehensive review of the outcomes, lessons learnt on the impact and provide concrete recommendations for the preparatory and transitional process of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages.


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