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Administrator defends teaching of Mandarin in Nigerian schools




The Administrator Grace High School, Gbagada, Lagos, Mrs. Tokunboh Edun, has explained that the school will continue to teach her students Chinese language, also known as Mandarin, despite criticism by stakeholders that Nigerian children are learning more foreign languages at the expense of indigenous languages.

Edun spoke in Lagos at the public presentation of Chinese Made Easy, a book written by Mr. Olaniyi Banwo of the University of Lagos. The book, which translates Chinese words into Yoruba, is meant to teach Yoruba speakers how to learn Mandarin.

According to Edun, those who are complaining against exposure of Nigerian students to foreign languages are not mindful of current trends in world policies and business. She disclosed that Grace High School became the first private school to introduce Mandarin to Nigerian students because the school is aware of latest trend worldwide. She added that “right now, Europeans and Americans are learning how to speak Chinese language because of the giant strides attained by china in global business and International relations. Learning mandarin has become a global trend which cannot be ignored by those who want to play an effective role in global business.”

Mrs. Edun said she has discovered that students who can speak major international languages like French, English and Chinese often have an edge in terms of competition for international jobs. “A mastery of Chinese language gives the speaker access to business opportunities in the most populous country of the world.”

The school administrator, while commending the author for making Chinese language easy to learn by Yoruba speakers and making Yoruba easy for mandarin speakers, gave three reasons Nigerians should take learning of Chinese language as a serious business. First, she observed that the Chinese are making rapid in-roads to Africa. In recent past, the latest data indicates that China is clearly emerging as Africa’s biggest trading partner. Also she observed that Chinese investment in Africa is expanding in many sectors like Agriculture, Industry and Social infrastructure. Edun also noted that even in terms of population, it is a known fact that one out of five human beings is a Chinese.

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  • Bello Barriga

    Here we go again. History tells us, and the result is glaring – while the sage was advocating and investing resources in free education in his region, his colleagues in other regions were busy in self accomplishment. For examples, my great great uncle Ahmadu Bello was busy corralling people in his region with cows; while Nnamdi Azikiwe left his region to canvas for political prowess in Lagos. Just like the sage, another Nigerian, Olaniyi Banwo, is preparing his region to take advantage of the trend in globalization. That is the reason anything FIRST in Nigeria always begin in that region of the country. Olaniyi Banwo, is doing exactly what the sage did for the same region many years ago – POSITIONING. A word is more than enough for the wise.

  • loveontopover

    That is Chinese for pleasure since WAEC does not offer exams on it. And the Nigerian school curriculum has no room for mandarin! But it is on the side of ‘good to know’!

  • felixoti

    Probably, one of the few administrators who knows where the rest of the world is going. It is in the best interest of Nigerian students to start at an early age learning this language, because the rest of the international community is preparing their future leaders to be well-versed in the business and diplomatic language of the future.

    Nigerians should stop playing catch-up, because they never really do catch up with the rest of the developing world.

  • Ogbonnaya Okike

    We waste our time over stupid things. Why not we think of what will move Nigeria and Africa forward and that is SCIENCE and MATHEMATICS. But I wish the school all the best and tell parents who do not want such a foreign language should withdraw their children.

    • Bemkapeace

      Why is it waste of time? I had to learn Spanish as an adult and it was not easy. At the time, Spanish was the most spoken language after Chinese – still competing with English. Not only are The Chinese the leading number in terms of language, most of business and technology has moved to China. Having this foreign language is such an advantage that cannot be quantified and I think we should rather encourage it as much as possible. Mandarin is one of the most difficult languages but if anyone is able to learn it, great; but it is best for youngsters.
      The Chinese system of learning mathematics for instance, is apparently superior to the Western style since consecutively for many years now, their high school children have beaten every other country to the top (sometimes first 5 top) positions. If you don’t know the language, the style will make no meaning to you but if you know it, it’s easier to grasp the cultural style. Perhaps then we’d not be following the conventional mathematics that we’ve been doing for years without getting anywhere and actually do it the way that’d help.
      My support to this Administrator… she knows!

  • Rev

    I think this is incredibly dexterous…To have interpretative access to one of the largest volume of people on earth is genius on the part of the administrators of this facility. I wish I could turn the hand of the clock backwards and join these cutting edge students in this exciting foray…!


    This is an eye opener. I have observed with surprise too how people from Asian descent (Chinese,S/Koreans, others) are subtly becoming “the power house” of knowledge here in the US, when it comes to science/technology inclined professions. Incidentally, the blacks and people of African origen are being left behind for all type of reasons (lack of opportunity, not being serious, laziness, lack of strategy/vision, and above all, inferiority complex and not being resilient in the face of racist challenges).

  • ASSURE Educational Services

    When will History be made compulsory in Nigerian school? We will be a lost generation few years to come if drastic actions are not taken to re-address our secondary school educational curriculum….while I appreciate the current trends in globalization, we shouldn’t sacrifice our culture, tradition and history for foreign languages….can china introduce the study of Yoruba in their curriculum? The said administrator is just looking for ways to attract Chinese parents in Nigeria…..ask Mrs. Edun, if Nigerian History is taught in her school….she is a capitalist….period….

  • Onyekachi Eke

    I don’t think the issue is the language itself. When will we grow to the point that other countries would want to learn our languages in order to do business with us? I agree and disagree that this is a good move.
    The Chinese don’t care about the English language or any other for that matter and here we are trying to learn their language because they are likely to be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Shouldn’t we t instead concentrate on developing ourselves and our economy? Is that impossible?
    Well, jus’ thinking out loud.