Society

Quality English Grammar Declines in Nigeria-Researchers

Nigeria has up to 250 ethnic groups, and 521 recognized indigenous languages, but adopted English language, which has played a major role as the language of political unity in the country for many decades, as its national language to unify all its racial components.

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Despite foreign language importance, research has revealed that in the past decade there has been a decline in efficient English grammar in Nigeria.
According to the latest public opinion poll results released by NOIPolls in partnership with Language & Skills Development Consulting Ltd, almost 7 in 10 Nigerians (68 percent) confirmed that there is a decline in the quality of English grammar in Nigeria within the last 10 years.
Also, the poll revealed that factors responsible for the decline in the quality of English grammar in Nigeria, was found to be ‘poor educational system’ particularly in education administration, and the state of infrastructure in the Nigerian educational sector. Other top factors responsible for this decline include; ‘dearth of qualified English language teachers’, ‘cultural/environmental influence, ‘influence of mother tongue’ and the ‘influence of pidgin English’.
Furthermore, the results also revealed that the reading culture in Nigeria is relatively poor, as only 4 percent of Nigerians read a book or a piece of literary material daily. The poll also shows that only 65 percent of Nigerians understand or communicate effectively in English. Additionally, analysis of results indicated that 76 percent of Nigerians stated that proficiency in English Language should be a prerequisite when recruiting candidates for a job in Nigeria. Their opinions were that this would help improve the quality of English Language in Nigeria, by putting pressure on prospective candidates to learn the basics of the language.
Finally, the poll revealed that 89 percent of Nigerians are willing to pay a fee to help improve their written and spoken English, however, for general improvement in English Language in Nigeria; Nigerians recommend that ‘only competent teachers should be employed to teach English language’, ‘good reading culture across the Nigerian landscape should be promoted’, ‘continuous training of English language teachers’ and ‘Improvement of the standard of education in public schools’ among several other suggestions.
English language was introduced in Nigeria in the early 19th century by the British colonial administration.
Owing to the multi lingual and culturally dynamic society in Nigeria, English language should be far from extinction because it brings commonality between the diverse ethnic groups.
Over the past decade, there has been a growing argument that the quality of English Language spoken in Nigeria is on the decline. This argument suggests a disparity between spoken and written communication. With the growing influence of technology and the era of social media, English language communication is expected to be improving in Nigeria, instead there seems to be a decline in the quality of grammar spoken in the country. This is evidenced by the recent poor performance of Nigerian students in the study of English language. On 24th April 2014, it was published by National Examination Council (NEC) that Nigerian students performed poorly both in English language and General Mathematics, but performed well in Islamic, Igbo and Arabic studies during the WAEC examinations.
Language is the vehicle of social interaction and we need effective language to function properly in the work place, social interaction, and indeed, for functional literacy. It must be emphasized that “a person is functionally literate when he/she has acquired the knowledge and skills in speaking, reading, listening and writing which enable him/her to engage effectively in all those activities in which literacy is normally assumed in his/her culture or group.
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