All Early Childhood Development Education centres in Nairobi County could soon be required to have a lesson on mother tongue if City Hall adopts a proposal by Nairobi MCAs.
The development follows a motion by nominated MCA Silvia Museiya who wants to compel the county government’s Education department to develop a policy requiring every ECDE centre to have a lesson on language and culture.
If passed into law, it will make it mandatory for nursery school children to learn vernacular from their parents or relatives at home and express it in class.
Ms Museiya said the motion has been necessitated by the need to revive indigenous languages which are fast facing extinction, especially in urban centres where children are from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
“I just need the children to be able to identify with an African language and culture and minimise the Western cultural influence in our society. If we continue losing our culture then we will even lose our social norms and values as a society,” said Ms Museiya yesterday.
She said early childhood education is a devolved function and asked the Education department to come up with a policy compelling them to introduce a lesson called language and culture at least once a week.
Ms Museiya said teaching the young learners, who are between the ages of three and seven to communicate in their mother tongues would go a long way in reviving languages which risk being forgotten, with Kiswahili, English and Sheng’ being the preferred mode of communication by children in urban areas.
“We need a revival of African indigenous languages as there is a concern about the loss of these languages. Children at this age can easily pick up many languages as they are at the peak of learning. “The children can learn from home and come and express it in school. The teacher can ask them to talk about their families in mother tongue. This will prevent scenarios where children cannot interact with rural folks because of language barrier,” she said.
Proposed law will make it mandatory for nursery school children to learn vernacular from their parents or relatives at home and express it in class.