Nigeria is a highly multiethnic and multilingual African country that speaks over 500 indigenous languages and two official languages, English and French, some of which are taught and learned at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education. This descriptive study has attempted to discuss the state of language education and related issues in the education sector, involving the mother tongue, English, French and Arabic languages. The paper elucidates a few omissions in the National Policy on Education (NPE) and other factors that militate against effective implementation of the language curriculum such as negative perception, inadequate teaching staff and instructional resources, falling students’ enrolment and performance, year abroad challenges, lack of funds and controversies generated by debates on a good lingua franca, etc. Based on the findings and their implications for achieving the objectives of the NPE, some recommendations have also been made for a way forward, for example, the need to review the existing NPE and language curriculum, implement trilingual education, compulsory and free basic education, provide sufficient funds, constitute internal quality assurance committees, carry out research and publish standard textbooks for pupils and students, and create umbrella associations of language teachers at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education.
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Author Name: Matthew O. Iwuchukwu
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Keywords: Nigeria, language education, policy, curriculum, mother tongue, official languages, issues, way forward