A Labour Party (LP) Governorship Candidate in Bayelsa State, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, has called on the Douye Diri-led administration in the state to review its plan to introduce Chinese Language in the school curriculum.
While acknowledging that there was nothing wrong in learning a new language, Eradiri said such knowledge should only be introduced after a need assessment had been carried out to determine its importance to the state and the people.
The former commissioner in Bayelsa argued that there was no political, cultural and 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 the people of China to Bayelsa either for trade or tourism to earmark state’s resources 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 deliberately efforts should be made to review the curriculum and introduce globally acceptable trending programmes with endless opportunities and realities.
He said the world was already moving towards Artificial Intelligence, robotics, coding, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and agriculture with emphasis on areas of economic advantage and that Bayelsa Government should follow such trends.
He said: “Without bilateral trades, cultural, political and tourism relationship between Bayelsa and China, introducing 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 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 the influx of Chinese people in Bayelsa in the nearest 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 about introducing and emphasizing 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 joining 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 better impact and create endless opportunities for youths”.
The Bayelsa state government has said it is working on plans to make the teaching and learning of Chinese, French and Ijaw languages a priority in public schools. The government also said it wants to place greater importance on science and mathematics.
Deputy governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, disclosed this when the national and state chapters of the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) paid him a courtesy visit in Yenagoa on Thursday, January 25.
Ewhrudjakpo explained that the emphasis on the above-listed languages was to equip the young ones to take full advantage of career opportunities offered by those subjects in the future.
The government official added that there is a growing economic influence of China in global affairs.