The Need to Teach and Learn Indigenous Languages as General Courses in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions for National Cohesion
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This paper focuses on the need for teaching and learning indigenous languages as general courses (GS) in Nigerian tertiary institutions. The purpose is to increase awareness on the need for Nigerians to adopt positive attitudes towards indigenous languages outside theirs in order to promote national cohesion, a necessary condition for developing Nigerian languages to full potentials. Using the schooling languages perspective, factors discussed include, Nigeria’s language education policy vis a vis the status of indigenous languages, and attitude of Nigerians towards indigenous languages, which promote or disrupt national cohesion. The paper discovers among others that negative attitude militates against national cohesion and jeopardises sustained development of respective Nigerian languages to L2 status in comparison with foreign languages studied in Nigeria and elsewhere; while positive attitude, exemplified in Nwankwere (2019a), enhances these potent attributes and is a great motivator of effective economic and optimal national development. Nigeria can achieve national cohesion through greater effectiveness in already established Nigerian languages, like Igbo, as GS courses. Furthermore, the prospects of establishing and propelling all Nigerian languages from languages for general purposes to languages for specific purposes can be harnessed and actualised. Some recommendations are made: initially establishing at least Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba as GS/L1 and GS/L2 courses in Nigerian tertiary institutions; making such GS courses more learner-centred; inculcating modern principles of L1/L2 pedagogy; designing, redesigning official learner-centred, needs-based indigenous general language courses; staff, infrastructural development; content-based teaching.
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