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8TH EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FORUM  


Extract from Vanguard Nigeria

Neglect of mother tongue, culture, bane of Nigeria’s development — Experts
ON JULY 9, 2016 By JAPHET ALAKAM

Again, experts have identified the neglect of Nigerian languages and culture as the bane of its crippled development. This was the submission of scholars who spoke during the 2016 Authors’ forum organised by the famous publishers, University Press Plc at the ancient city of Ibadan.

The forum which is a yearly opportunity for authors to celebrate themselves and reflect on their roles as nation builders, this year focussed on ways of sustaining local languages, particularly by transmitting it to the young generation.

The event was graced by notable scholars like Emeritus Professors Ayo Banjo, Femi Osofisan, Ayo Bamgbose and Dr. Lalekan Are, Chairman of UP Plc, who also chaired the event. L–R:Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo; Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike; Chairman, University Press Plc, Dr. Lalekan Are; MD, UP Plc, Mr. Samuel Kolawole and guest lecturer, Emeritus Professor Ayo Bamgbose at the event Others present were,; Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, Professors Akachi Ezeigbo, Akinwunmi Ishola, Niyi Osundare, Duro Adeleke and many others.

In his opening remarks, Dr Are said “This year’s Author’s Forum will be discussing the neglect of Nigerian languages and culture. Language is more than just a means of communication. It influences our culture and even our thought processes. On a deeper level, language is an expression of who we are as individuals, communities and nations. Culture refers to dynamic social systems and shared patterns of behaviours, beliefs, knowledge, attitudes and values. He then lambasted parents , especially younger ones who are in the habit of speaking to children in borrowed languages. “I am ashamed of our young people of child bearing age. They are the people responsible for the disappearance of our local languages, when they have kids, they don’t speak our local languages to them.”

“Remember that you can only learn fast and think deeply in your own mother tongue. Being able to communicate in your mother tongue and at the same time proficient in English are not mutually exclusive. It is believed that if primary education were in the people’s mother tongue it would be much easier to learn English as a second language and be truly bilingual. In our days, the only language of instruction in school the first two years, irrespective of your ethnic background, was in the mother tongue. You must learn in the language of your immediate environment.

“Therefore, we must all cultivate the habit of speaking to our children in our mother tongue at home and facilitate the learning of indigenous language in schools”.

In his presentation, the guest lecturer, Bamgbose who spoke on the topic ‘Neglect of Nigerian Languages and Culture: Counting the Cost’stated that, “Nigerian languages and culture are losing their status under English dominance in such places as the home, school, and social events. Neglect of Nigerian languages and culture underlies many of the ills plaguing Nigeria”. Adding, that the rationalizations for the neglect included the fact that the country has no local common language of communication, inadequate terminology for most modern expressions, and the need for modernization and globalization.

He, cited examples of countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Japan and China who use their languages fully without the excuses and are technologically advanced.

According to him, in the past mother tongue served the educational needs of pupils in the first three or four years in primary schools before English was introduced as a subject in later years. This makes the pupils to be thoroughly grounded in mother tongue before receiving instruction in English and that result to proper understanding of concepts taught in various subjects.

Citing the example of the 1930’s Church Missionary Society’s Iwe Kika readers that covered various subjects, Bamgbose, debunked the usual argument that African languages lacked adequate terms for modern concepts.

Continuing, Bamgbose pointed out that the gains of the past have been eroded and blamed the federal government for the introduction of Universal Free Education of the Western Region that reduced primary school from eight years to six, thereby cutting off the first few years when mother tongue was used as medium of instruction.

He also stated that failure to teach pupils in the language of the environment affects the performance of pupils as they find it difficult to grasp concepts in English, an action that leads to high failure rate in English and Mathematics. As a way out, he then proposed, “As an alternative to the current practice, a mother tongue or a language that a child already knows well could be the medium of instruction throughout primary education, with English only taught as a subject.

“This has been tried out in 1970-80 at the now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in a project known as the Six-Year Primary Project (SYPP) by a former Minister if Education, Prof. Babs Fafunwa, and the results have been impressive”.

Apart from its effects on the pupils, Bamgbose said that the deteriorating use of English to the neglect of mother tongue has also affected the social and political space where it cuts the flow of information. As he put it, “An official language, such as English in Nigeria, puts many people at a disadvantage owing to lack of school education.”

On governance, he noted that the use of English leaves many behind, as they cannot participate fully during sitting as debates, bills, laws and electoral processes are conducted in an unfamiliar language.

He then advocated for measures to empower Nigerian languages which include, “Implementation of language provisions of the Constitution, use of Nigerian languages in more situations such as a governor or a chairman of local council addressing a local community, commissioning of language experts for terminology creation, translation of more official documents into local languages.”

 

7TH EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FORUM  


Extract from Punch Nigeria

The Chairman of the Board of Directors, University Press Plc, Dr. Lekan Are, on Wednesday described veteran writer, Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, as an author whose works transformed individuals and the society.
Are spoke at the 2015 edition of the UPL Authors’ Forum, which was dedicated to Ike as he celebrated 50 years as a writer. The event was held at Kakanfo Inn and Conference Centre, Ibadan. In his opening address, Are said UPL was lucky to have Ike, who is also the paramount ruler of Ndikelionwu town in Anambra State, on its board between 1978 and 2002.
Also at the event were the Managing Director, UP Plc, Samuel Kolawole; former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Ayo Banjo; directors of the company and eminent authors and scholars.

Are said, “This is the seventh of what has now become an annual event to reflect on our note, as authors, to nation building. This year’s forum is dedicated to Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike’s 50 years of writing as a published author. Ike is an acclaimed creative writer, whose first novel, Toads for Supper, was published in London in 1965. To date, he has written several short stories, 11 novels, one novel in Igbo, one fictional travelogue, two non-fiction books, four monographs and edited non-fiction books.
“Ike uses his stories and creative works to mirror, command, reproach and persuade the society, with the intention of having a better society. His stories centre on the transformation of the individual, the transformation of Nigeria as well as the transformation of the society at large.”

Are added that Ike’s good works earned him the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award in 2008, stressing that the award was one of the few revered honours on offer in Nigeria today.
Prof. Kanchana Ugbabe, who delivered the keynote address titled, ‘Celebrating Chukwuemeka Ike: A literary icon of our time,’ described the author as a gentle giant and a man of humility.

She said her first contact with Prof. Ike dated back to 1970 when she was writing her Ph.D. thesis in Australia. Recalling the writing style of the author, the professor of English Language said Prof. Ike wrote with psychological realism and sense of humour.

 

 

6TH EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FORUM  


Extract from Punchng.com

The sixth edition of the Authors’ Forum, organised by University Press Plc, dwells on science and technology education in Nigeria, AKEEM LASISI writes

If the Provost of the Federal College of Education, Katsina, Prof. Mamman Wasagu, is interested in building a museum, it will not be difficult for him to equip it to an impressive state. The reason for observing so is that he seems to be very good at keeping things.

He demonstrated this in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Wednesday when he produced an ATM card he obtained as far back as 1979, when he started his university education in the United States. He did this during the 2014 edition of the University Press Plc’s Authors’ Forum where he was the keynote speaker.

But Wasagu was not out to boast to the audience that his ATM card is perhaps the oldest in Nigeria. Rather, he wanted to establish the fact that in terms of technological development and invention, Nigeria still lags behind, at a rate that all and sundry should worry about. While the ATM technology never got entrenched in the Nigerian system until a few years ago, it was already a common phenomenon in a developed world such as the US in the 1970s.

This was one of the points that stirred up sober reflection at the Authors’ Forum held at the Kakanfo Conference Centre, Ring Road, in the ancient city. With the Chairman, Board of Directors of University Press Plc, Dr. Olalekan Are as the chairman, Wasagu, who gave a good account of himself as a science scholar, administrator and President of the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria, provoked thoughts on the state of science and technology in the country.

Since the Authors’ Forum has risen to become a reliable melting pot for prominent writers, publishers, booksellers and other stakeholders, at the event were renowned authors and scholars such as Emeritus Prof. Eyo Bamgbose, Emeritus Ayotunde Yoloye, Emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo, Professors Chukwuemeka Ike, Akinwumi Isola, Femi Osofisan, Niyi Osundare, Akachi Ezeigbo and Duro Adeleke.

Others included Dr. G. A. Akinola and Chief Dipo Gbenro.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Are set the tone for the lecture and discussion that followed. According to him, the Authors’ Forum is a symbol of University Press’ commitment to the development of the book and education industry in general. While it also provides an opportunity for stakeholders to appreciate efforts being made, Are, however, stressed that it was an avenue to reflect on “what we have been doing and what more to do to reshape the society.”

Are said all leaders of thought owed children the debt of coming come up with quality content to shape the future the country desired. He lamented that many of the problems confronting Nigeria, especially unemployment, were a product of poor policy planning, poor implementation, especially on science education.

Are said, ‘The education system should inspire young minds towards self actualisation and national development. But here, we only teach one plus one is equal to two. We are not thinking, and we don’t teach thinking. Our education must make people to think. Many examinations are now planned in the US to show whether you are thinking or not.”

Wasagu’s thesis was an extension of the points that Are raised. He noted that the topic was very relevant at a time that many youths remained jobless. While noting that part of the problem was that most Nigerian universities had been localised, a development that had watered down the quality of knowledge in circulation, he said most disturbing issue with education in Nigeria is that there is too much gap between theory and practice.

Wasagu, who asserted his cultural identity with his agbada which, he said, he never felt ashamed of wearing even when outside Nigeria, quoted many experts to buttress his point that since technology is the act of practicalising science, science without technology is sterile.

He said, “The Nigerian educational curriculum teaches more of theory and neglect practical. Science is knowledge through practical and it is sad that many people have the wrong notion of what science is all about. It sets limit to errors and it must also be noted that all facts in science are tentative.

“They change with more researches and findings. It is also unfortunate that Nigerian teachers do not want to be tested. Many of them are not ready for the job. In the US, there is what is called ‘New Generation Science Standard’ which is a policy designed to aid learning and move away from the conservative technique. The missing link in Nigeria today is the practical experience and understanding of what the society needs.”

He also decried the frequent changes in curriculum, saying the government and its relevant agencies had done the system more harm than good in this regard.

“There is not much difference between the old and new curriculum. Even if there were, do the teachers who would execute them have the knowledge of the new arrangement?” he asked.

On the teaching of entrepreneurship, he said it was wrong for academic institutions to rely on lecturers — who lack the needed experience. Rather, real entrepreneurs should be engaged so that students would get the best. Besides, Wasagu said the search for white-collar jobs and what he called ‘bigmanism’ were part of what have compounded the unemployment crisis in Nigeria. He said entrepreneurship, the principles of which he gave to include creative planning, skills and hard work – was the answer to unemployment in the country.

In his contribution, the Head of Department of English at the University of Ibadan, Prof. Remi Raji, challenged STAN — being led by Wasagu as the president — on the need to include the humanities in its programmes for development.

He said, “We need to include arts in the process. Society cannot survive on the slogan of science and technology alone.”

Both Are and Wasagu agreed with Raji, but the first was quick to correct an assertion made by him (Raji) that UI started as a humanity-focused citadel.

Are said, “You are right by observing that you cannot live by science alone. But UI didn’t start as a liberal institution. No. Science students were more than arts in the early years.” He said.

If there is one thing that all the participants agreed on at the event, it is the fact that Nigeria’s failure is that of thinking.

L-R: Ike, Banjo, and Are

 

 

NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR 2014


UPPLC NIBF 2014-1 UPPLC NIBF 2014-2 UPPLC NIBF 2014-3 UPPLC NIBF 2014-4

 Our Section with the kids: Renowned Author J.P Clark having and the kids in a read along session

UPPLC NIBF 2014-5 UPPLC NIBF 2014-6 UPPLC NIBF 2014-7 UPPLC NIBF 2014-8

 Our Section with the kids: Dance and Drama, pictures with the kids and staff of University Press PLC 

 

5TH EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FORUM


The Authors’ Forum held on the 26th of June 2013 at kakanfo conference centre, Ibadan, is an idea conceived by the Management of University Press Plc as a forum for finding solutions to various problems facing the book industry in Nigeria.

The keynote speaker on this occasion – Prof. Nolue Emenanjo who has published well over 100 books spoke on the topic ‘How safe is the Book’. He pointed out that the book remains an effective medium of communication with education, information, entertainment, persuasion and news among its specific objectives.

Despite the importance of books and efforts by many to revamp the reading culture, Nigeria is not a book-loving country. Instead, ‘Nigeria is a chronically book-less country’ he said.

The Chairman UPPLC, Dr. Lekan Are, however, put the objective of the forum in a broader perspective when he noted that it also contributes to nation building. He went further to say that the forum is put together in a bid to give authors the opportunity to reflect on what needs to be done to reshape the country, by deliberating on current trends in publishing to improve the quality of contents. This he emphasized we owe as a duty to ourselves and our children.

Finally, the UPPLC Managing Director, Mr. Samuel Kolawole promised that the company will continue to work towards obtaining quality contents to publish and also promoting the need for Nigerians to imbibe the reading culture.

There Prof. Niyi Osundare,  Prof. Peter Okebukola; writer & monarch and Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike celebrated award winning writer, Prof. Akachi Adimorah Ezeigbo.

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