Nigerian legal luminary stresses relevance of indigenous languages in education

A legal luminary, Professor Yusuf Olaolu Ali, has advocated for brain decolonization as a way of advancing African education to empower the next generation and equally address the systemic challenges being face today in empowering indigenous languages in education, and foster culturally relevant pedagogy.

Penpushing reports that Ali made the observation on Wednesday at the maiden edition of a distinguished public lecture of the Thomas Adewumi University Oko, Irepodun Local Government area of Kwara State.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who spoke on the topic “Decolonizing African Education To Empower The Next Generation”, said the context of African education is essential to comprehend the immediate need for its decolonization, which will address the systemic challenges it faces today.

‘The tout of African education is plainly marked by the influence of erstwhile colonial powers, leaving a heritage that advances eurocentric biases and marginalislzes the long-standing indigenous knowledge system that forms an integral part of Africa’s culture tapestry’, he said

Penpushing further reports that the legal icon speaking at the auditorium of the institution noted that Nigerian education was greatly impacted by British colonial domination, adding that Africa leaders should promote use of local languages for academic activities.

‘Rather than meeting the requirements of the native population, the British formal education system was designed to serve the interests of the colonial government. The curriculum reflected the customs and ideals of the colonisers and was frequently eurocentric. Native languages were marginalised because English became the language of instruction’.

‘During the colonial era, producing clerks, interpreters, and low-level administrative staff to support the colonial administration was the main objective of education. The goal of the educational system was to further the interests of the colonial authority rather than to empower the indigenous populace”, he said.

Penpushing also reports that the legal scholar said that there is need to decolonize our brain thoughts, way, actions, outlook and work ethics, while he recommended that Africa should implement curricula revision that reflect African viewpoints, aimed at empowering indigenous languages in education, and foster culturally relevant pedagogy.

The legal luminary emphasised that it is important to de-emphasize educational certificates, adding that Africa should decolonize educational assessment and evaluation, and equally called for adequate funding to support research and policies geared towards to decolonization, adding that both teachers and students, “who are critical stakeholders in the education sector”, should be empowered.

‘Decolonizing professional development for teachers is critical, as recognising and valuing indigenous knowledge. Furthermore, assisting teachers in incorporating technology into school is critical for modernising the learning process’, he stated.

‘Decolonizing educational spaces requires redesigning physical learning environments, establishing inclusive and secure spaces for marginalised groups, and fostering conversation and critical thinking in classrooms.

‘Promoting African-centered research methodology, forming collaborative research relationships with African scholars, and addressing ethical concerns in African education research are all critical steps towards decolonizing educational research. Promoting student agency and voice, eliminating gender inequalities, and expanding access to high-quality education for everyone are all priorities”, he said.

Penpushing reports that the founder of the University, Engineer Thomas Adewunmi, lauded the contribution of the lecturer, saying that he has set an enviable standard for future speakers in the distinguished lecture series.

The founder, who is the Asiwaju of Oko land, stated that most of the recommendations put forward by the guest lecturer would be put into practical use towards improving educational system in the institution.

Penpushing further reports that the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Francisca Oladipo, in her remarks appreciated the distinguished lecturer, saying that the event would help shore up image and reputation of the institution among its contemporaries.

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