The Centre for Igbo Arts and Culture Abuja (CIAC) has urged parents to desist from discouraging their children from learning their mother tongue with a view to promoting the growth of such languages to prevent the languages from going into extinction.
The Centre also called on the different levels of government and relevant agencies to promote the speaking of mother tongues by employing more local language teachers in primary and secondary schools.
It appealed to governments to organise language promotion seminars for Nigerian parents and create media awareness on radios and televisions.
Chairman of the Centre, Dr Kanayo Okoye, who was speaking yesterday at this year’s of celebration of the mother tongue, noted that depriving a child from speaking his mother tongue “is a violation of his fundamental human rights.”
He further noted that the “child should be given the opportunity to learn his vernacular at home, while the child is exposed to other languages in his school.”
Okoye said “encouraging a child to speak the mother tongue contributes to the child’s overall development,” adding that a child’s fluency in his language “makes him attain an identity, connects to his culture ensures better cognitive development and ensures he readily learns other languages.”
The Centre attributed the “gradual extinction of local languages to the lack of national language policy which is already receiving government’s attention as the policy was appropriated in the last year’s budget.”