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City parents to be forced to teach children mother tongue in proposed law

All publicly owned nursery schools in Nairobi could soon be required to have a lesson on mother tongue if a proposal by Nairobi MCAs is adopted by City Hall.

Nominated MCA Silvia Museiya has drafted a motion to compel City Hall’s education department to develop a policy requiring every ECDE center 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.

“The idea is to have the children be able to stand before the rest and express themselves, in form of compositions, in mother tongue. I need a child to identify with any of the indigenous languages. I am a Maasai, but I can speak fluent Kikuyu,” she explained.

Ms Museiya said the motion has been necessitated by the need to revive indigenous languages which are fast facing extinction especially in urban centres.

“I just need the children to be able to identify with an African language and culture and minimize 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.

She explained that early childhood education is a devolved function and City Hall can come up with a policy compelling nursery schools to have a lesson called ‘language and culture’ to be taught at least once in a week set out .

Ms Museiya explained that teaching young learners, who are between ages three and seven years, to be able to communicate in mother tongue will help in the revival of languages which have been forgotten.

The nominated MCA explained that the policy will promote the speaking of mother tongue at home and helping children identify with their cultural backgrounds.