Nigeria is among the best English-speaking countries in Africa. After attaining independence, English gradually became the country's primary medium for inter-ethnic communication. After some time, learning English helped Nigerians access greater economic opportunities domestically and globally. This article explains the importance of the English language in Nigerian schools.
Nigeria has 371 ethnic groups, over 500 languages, and various cultural, political, regional, and religious differences. English being the only official language in the country makes it a major unifying factor for this diverse population. The people understand each other better because English is their common language of communication. Because of this, it is important to encourage children in Nigeria to learn English in school.
What is the importance of the English language in Nigerian schools?
English is the language of instruction in Nigerian schools. Upper primary schools, secondary schools, and tertiary institutes use it when teaching students. On top of this, English, being an official language in Nigeria, compels every Nigerian citizen to learn and speak it. Below are the importance of the English language in Nigeria:
1. English is a global language for communication
86 countries use English as an official or second language. So, learning basic English will help you communicate with people worldwide. You can meet English speakers on social media, in Nigeria, and when you travel to English-speaking countries.
2. Studying English can help you get a job
You can still find work without speaking English, but that might limit your career opportunities worldwide. Research shows that 7% of jobs worldwide require native-level English, 49% require advanced English, 33% require intermediate English, and 8% need basic English. Besides, even most online jobs require people who can communicate in English.
3. English is an important language for business
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English is the ideal language for facilitating international workflows. For this reason, most companies today want employees who can communicate in English. Of that, at least 60% of multinationals worldwide officially use English to do business.
4. English gives access to more entertainment
Content produced in English dominates the entertainment industry. Since Hollywood began to influence the global media and entertainment industry, most films, TV shows, songs, and other forms of digital entertainment are produced in English and then translated into other languages.
Besides, English is the domineering default language in the gaming industry, even though Asia has the world's largest online gaming market. For that reason, 40% of global video games are in English, 21% are in Chinese, and 15% are in Russian.
5. English gives access to the internet
Over 55% of online domains use English to share information with the public. This confirms that English dominates the internet. Almost half of the homepages of the most visited websites on the World Wide Web are in English. Very few websites have information in languages like Russian, Spanish, French, Persian, German, and Japanese.
Additionally, studying English helps you communicate with people on social media. English is the leading online language, and most people on social media use the default keypad in English.
6. English is the leading language in the media industry
Most media houses in the world use English to spread information. The world has over 33,071 TV channels spread across different networks. Over 600 of these TV stations are in Africa. Most TV channels complement their original news and entertainment native-language programs with English news and entertainment programs.
7. You can study overseas if you know English
A proficient English speaker can study anywhere in the world because most countries have schools offering courses in English. A mapping project focusing on the world's top 1,000 univeristies discovered over three-quarters teach one or more degrees entirely in English. They use books written in English and use the same language in lectures, assignments, and writing research papers.
8. English makes it easier to travel
Traveling is easier when you can communicate in English at a basic level. Although it isn't the official language in some countries, you are highly likely to meet people who understand it, even in countries that do not use English as a primary language. So, learning English will make your life easier in a foreign country when you need to communicate with the locals.
9. English gives you access to multiple cultures
Translators and authors transform cultural values from one language to another to reach a wider audience. That being so, numerous cultural, dramatic, and creative poetry literature worldwide are translated into English since it is an international language.
Republishing cultural literature translated into English helps many to understand the culture, history, philosophy, politics, and more aspects of each ethnic group. So, if you want to learn about a particular culture's values, habits, and way of life, read literature translated into English.
10. Learning English or any other new language improves your intelligence
Learning a new language builds your thinking skills, creativity, and memory abilities. In general, learning a new language improves the brain's functionality and can delay the onset of dementia. What is more, bilingual students concentrate better and ignore distractions more effectively than those speaking one language.
What is the importance of the English language to students?
Learning English has many long-term benefits to any student. The following are some of the benefits Nigerian students enjoy after mastering English:
- English has helped students in Nigeria learn about different cultures worldwide since most cultural, dramatic, and creative poetry literature worldwide is translated into English.
- Learning English or any other new language boosts the students' thinking skills, creativity, and memory abilities and makes them more intelligent.
- Knowing English increases their chances of employment in multinational companies within Nigeria and abroad.
- English has helped Nigerian graduates do business within the country and abroad because they can communicate with people from various backgrounds.
- Learning English helps students to travel abroad for educational reasons. Most international universities offer one or more degrees entirely in English.
- Since most webpages share information in English, learning this language helps students to access and use the internet for educational purposes.
What are the importance of the English language in Nigeria?
According to the importance of the English language in Nigeria pdf from the 2018 NASA Conference in Lagos, this language has the following benefits to the country:
- English is a language of instruction in schools.
- It is a language for doing business in Nigeria.
- The language has improved diplomatic ties between Nigeria and other countries.
- It is used by the news and media industry to spread information to the public.
- It has developed entertainment because most Nollywood movies, Nigerian songs, and other forms of digital entertainment are produced in English.
- English helps Nigerians socialize with people worldwide when they travel overseas.
- Nigerians use English to socialize with other people on social media.
- English has enhanced cohesion among Nigerians. They communicate in English despite their multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, political, regional, and religious differences.
- It enables Nigerians to access the internet since most web pages share information in English.
- English-speaking Nigerians can work overseas in English-speaking countries.
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It is hard to imagine the modern world without the English language since it is among the world's most spoken languages. English has become the universal language for traveling, business, and international communications. For this and other importance of the English language, parents are encouraged to allow their children to study English in school.
Legit.ng also shared an article explaining the history of Western Education in Nigeria. Christian missionaries introduced the Western education system in Nigeria in 1842.
The early Western education activities began in the Lagos area (Badagry and Abeokuta) and gradually spread to other parts of Nigeria. The article will help you better understand Western education's impact on Nigerians.