The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has said that the use of indigenous languages for education had a major impact on the quality of learning processes and outcomes.
The UNESCO Regional Director, Prof. Hassana Alidou, stated this in Abuja on Wednesday at a workshop to pre-test an action research guidebook in multilingual and multicultural contexts.
The theme of the workshop is tagged “Action Research to improve youth and adult literacy’’.
Alidou said the guidebook on action research would facilitate involvement and empowerment of community, mass literacy and adult education centres in the country.
She noted that the reality of linguistic diversity and cultural differences required people to be competent in several languages.
“In 1996, the world commission on culture and development mandated by UNESCO raised a concern that culture should be an integral part in policy making to achieve social and economic development and wellbeing of the people.
“Culture shapes our thinking, imagining and behaviour, and its importance has been underestimated.
“ In the agenda of education, development and culture are going to be intertwined in order to account for diverse learning and development needs of all people,’’ Alidou said.
She said that the use of languages in education would make people to communicate appropriately in different domains of life such as locally, regionally, nationally and across borders.
The Programme Specialist, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, Ms Christine Glanz, said that the programme to improve youth and adult literacy had been incorporated in 15 countries including West Africa.
According to her, sharing international ideas and experiences on the quality of adult literacy through the use of language would go a long way to minimise illiteracy rate in country.
Glanz noted that the workshop was aimed at developing a guideline that would support people around the world to build their capacity in learning.
“ We have incorporated ideas from a minimum of 15 countries like Asian region, Indonesia, South Africa, Mali and Senegal.
“If we want to reduce illiteracy rate, then we need to get people engaged, and support them in improving the quality of their lives as well as their literacy programmes,’’ she said.
Glanz, however, called for collaboration to develop a language that would be used for learning in a multilingual and multicultural context.