Imo State, one of the five states located in the South-Eastern region of Nigeria, has made Igbo language, the state’s vernacular, compulsory in all the schools in the state. This language will be studied alongside the English language, which is also a compulsory subject in every school in the country.
This was disclosed by Prof. Viola Onwuliri, the State Commissioner for Education, at the matriculation ceremony of the state’s College of Nursing and Midwifery, Orlu, held on 30th October, 2019.
According to the commissioner, who was represented by Basil Iwu, the state’s Director of Tertiary Education, the learning and teaching of Igbo would be compulsory for all students attending primary, secondary and tertiary institutions within the state.
She said, “We have resolved to make the Igbo language a compulsory subject in schools in Imo State. We believe our children need to know their roots and we can encourage that by teaching them our language, which is our heritage, in schools.”
The commissioner implored, “Parents and guardians should equally teach their children and wards Igbo language at home.” She also urged the provost of the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Orlu, to ensure that Igbo language was made a compulsory language at the school.
Prior to this disclosure by the Commissioner for Education, the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Hon. Gerald Irona, hinted that the state was about to send to the State Assembly, a bill that will make Igbo language a compulsory subject at all the schools located within the state.
Hon. Gerald Irona disclosed this while receiving a civil society organisation known as Green Pathway Initiative in his office.
According him, the need to pass and implement this Bill arose because of the decline in the use of Igbo language, which could consequently lead to the loss of the culture of the Igbo ethnic group.
The deputy governor, who addressed the gathering in Igbo language, said, “Every tribe has an identity. One of the identities of a people is their language. It is unfortunate that a lot of our children neither speak nor understand Igbo language.” He, however, assured them that the incumbent administration will do the needful to remedy the situation.
As it is now, every student attending any of the schools located in Imo State of Nigeria, irrespective of his or her tribe and race, must study and pass Igbo language as a subject.