Marrying across different backgrounds has been a norm among Kenyan men without fear of losing out or getting caught up in cultural and traditional ways of either side. With culture comes mother tongue that uniquely identifies the 42 tribes in the country, which the current generation is losing out on.
A proposal by Nairobi MCA’s want all Early Childhood Development Education centers in Nairobi County to incorporate a lesson on vernacular language in their curriculum at least once a week necessitated by the need to revive indigenous languages which are fast facing extinction, especially in urban areas with rich ethnic backgrounds.
“I just need the children to be able to identify with an African language and culture and minimise 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 nominated MCA Silvia Museiya who developed the motion.
Teaching young learners, who are between the ages of three and seven to communicate in their mother tongues is big short in reviving languages. It will be mandatory for nursery school children to learn mother tongue from their parents or relatives at home and express it in class if the Bill is adopted.
“We need a revival of African indigenous languages as there is a concern about the loss of these languages. Children at this age can easily pick up many languages as they are at the peak of learning. The children can learn from home and come and express it in school. The teacher can ask them to talk about their families in mother tongue. This will prevent scenarios where children cannot interact with rural folks because of the language barrier,” she said.
In as much as young learners have a good chance of mastering mother tongue. How much will City Hall be willing to pump into the project whose fruits make take a whole while?