‘No reason to introduce Chinese language in schools’ – LP’s Eradiri tells Bayelsa govt


The governorship candidate of the Labour Party, LP, in Bayelsa State, Udengs Eradiri, has called on the Douye Diri-led administration in the state to review its plan to introduce the Chinese language in the school curriculum.

Saga Gist recalls that the state government recently disclosed that it is taking steps to make the teaching and learning of the Ijaw, French and Chinese languages, as well as science and mathematics, a priority in public schools in the state, to prepare and equip the children to take full advantage of career opportunities in those subjects.

While acknowledging that there was nothing wrong with learning a new language, Eradiri said such knowledge should only be introduced after a need assessment has been carried out to determine its importance to the state and the people.

The former commissioner in Bayelsa argued that there were no political, cultural or bilateral relationships between Bayelsa and China to warrant making Chinese a language to learn in Bayelsa schools.

He said there was no projection in the future that there would be an influx of people from China to Bayelsa, either for trade or tourism, to earmark the state’s resources for teaching Chinese in schools.

Eradiri observed that even the state’s cargo airport, which should have acted as a catalyst in the long run to directly create bilateral opportunities between Bayelsa and China, had become dysfunctional.

Instead, Eradiri said deliberate efforts should be made to review the curriculum and introduce globally acceptable trending programmes with endless opportunities and realities.

He said: “Without bilateral trade, cultural, political and tourism relations between Bayelsa and China, introducing the Chinese language in schools’ curriculum will not just be a waste of time and resources but also an indication that we lack knowledge of trending issues.

“Beyond saying that such a move was in view of China’s global economic impact, the state government should explain to us whether it is cultivating a special bilateral relationship with China. Are we expecting an influx of Chinese people in Bayelsa in the near future, maybe in the hospitality and tourism sector?

“We do not believe that the government should waste resources teaching Chinese in our schools. The world is moving towards artificial intelligence, robotics, coding, ICT and agriculture, and we think the government should concern itself with introducing and emphasising such trends in our school curriculum.

“Bayelsa children should join their colleagues around the world to compete favourably in the new knowledge brought about by science and technology and not join a group of foreign language speakers without purpose and direction.

“Bayelsa government should think of reviewing its curriculum and budget to harp on agriculture, with particular emphasis on the state’s economic comparative advantage, like rice production. Such areas will make a better impact and create endless opportunities for youth.”

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