by Isi Esene
Governor Babatunde Fashola has given reasons for championing the introduction of Mandarin in Lagos public schools. He defended the initiative saying it is not to discourage the teaching of indigenous languages.
He said it is to give pupils functional education in consonance with current global realities.
Fashola who said this at the commemoration of 2,000 days of his administration in Ikeja during the weekend, assured that no child would be compelled to take the language in school.
He reportedly said, “Our plan to introduce Chinese in schools is not to discourage or stop the teaching of indigenous languages in schools.
“We will continue to teach Yoruba and other languages but we are saying that giving our pupils the opportunity to learn Chinese will be an advantage in a changing world.
“Whether we admit it or not the Chinese are taking over the global economy and we are only preparing our pupils for the opportunities that the use of Chinese language as the possible language of the future might provide,” Fashola said.
Olayinka Oladunjoye, the Lagos commissioner for education had recently advocated the teaching of Mandarin language in public schools.
The governor said the state was now ranked among the states with the best public education in country, while the pass rate in WAEC had moved from less than 20 per cent in 2011 to over 38.28 per cent in 2012.
Some of the guests present on the occasion include Brig. Mobolaji Johnson and Alhaji Lateef Jakande, both former governors of the state as well as Frederick Faseun, leader of Oodua People’s Congress(OPC).