Language Education in Nigeria


Language is the most important and effective tool for communication, whether it is the use of body language and gestures by early humans in ancient times, or the cooperation and negotiation among nations in the current wave of economic globalization. Language is also a carrier of culture and a medium of communication, like a window that opens for us the story of the Nile thousands of years ago, showing the secrets of the Eskimo ice caves, and telling the parting of sorrows in the era of war and fire. The famous ancient Chinese book “The Book of Han” says: “When a gentleman puts down his pen, his words are wonderful to the world”, meaning that language is closely related to every aspect of social development.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is a multi-ethnic country with more than 400 languages. As the country with the highest level of linguistic and ethnic diversity on the African continent, Nigeria is highly regarded for its language education.

Multilingual Education in Nigeria

Nigeria has a well-established system of research on language learning, teaching and learning. The Nigerian National Education Policy requires students to learn their mother tongue, the three main national languages, and even French and English in school. The majority of Nigerians are multilingual, with UNESCO reporting that 60% of Nigerian citizens are bilingual and some Nigerians even can speak four or more languages.

However, in recent years, problems have accumulated in language education: relatively low government investment in education, lack of public awareness of the importance of learning native languages and the need for innovation, as well as insufficient teaching equipment, outdated teaching methods, and varying teacher standards.

Language is closely linked to national identity, while language as a communication tool is also the basis for socio-economic development. With the wave of economic globalization and the promotion of the Internet, language is increasingly becoming an indispensable tool for enterprises to face the globalized environment.


Chinese Language Education and Globalization in Nigeria

Nigeria and China established diplomatic relations in the early 1970s, and in recent years, the two countries have become increasingly close in education, culture and economy. In 2005, the first Confucius Institute in Nigeria was established at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, and Chinese as a second language education was officially introduced to Nigeria. The second Confucius Institute was established four years later, more and more Nigerians began to learn Chinese language and culture, and the number of Nigerian students coming to China increased year by year. On top of language learning, the diplomatic and economic relations between China and Nigeria have become increasingly close.

With the strong influence of globalization trends, multilingual education is an effective way for countries, regions and nations to achieve better understanding and cooperation to ensure sustainable development, and we need to learn more about each other to cross linguistic and cultural barriers.

Images reference:Wechat official account of Confucius Institute UNIZIK

References and citations:

[1] Oladiipo Jacob Ajiboye, Lanyan Qin, and Xingpei Hao.” The Need for Innovation in Nigerian Language Education.” Journal of World Education 27.16(2014):39-40.

[2] OBITUBE CHINELO MARTHA. Investigation on the Status of the Development of Chinese Language Profession in Nigeria.2021. Dalian University of Foreign Languages,MA thesis.


ansley chen

My last name is Chen, my first name is Linxuan, I live in Beijing, the capital of China, and my major is Chinese International Education. I was exposed to different cultures around the world during my major studies in college and very interested in the humanities. I have participated in many volunteer activities for environmental organizations in China, as well as for the Winter Olympics.

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