Effect of Mother Tongue on Pupil’s Performance in Basic Science at Primary Schools Level. Determination of gender influence in Gusau, Zamfara State

Hausarbeit, 2014

31 Seiten










1.0 Background to the Study

The success of any country depends greatly on the effectiveness and efficiency of its educational system. Oguntimelin and Oni (2010), because educations serve as a tool for social and economic mobility at all level. Education is a process of preparing for complete living. Onuke & Arowojolu (2008), submitted that every nation is mandated to educated and take care of her citizens so as to make them fit into the society. In Nigerian context education is an instrument for national development of individual and for the general development of the society.

According to the Federal Republics of Nigeria (NPE 2004) the philosophy of Nigeria education are to inculcate in children:-

1. National consciousness and National unity.
2. The right type of values and attitude for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society.
3. Train their minds in the understanding of the world around.
4. And the acquisition of appropriate skills and social abilities and knowledge as equipment for the individual to live in and contribute to the development of the society.

However; schools and institution are created by the society to perform important functions associated with the education of the young ones. Milford (2000), described the schools as one of the major organization or government services remaining in rural areas.

According to Akinbote, Alhassan, Salawu & Johnson (2010), it is called basics education because it is the first level of education where formal teaching and learning take place. National Policy of Education N.P.E (2004) added that it is the education given institution for children of age 6 to 11 plus and since the rest of education system is built upon it. The primary level is the key to success or failure of the whole system.

The objective of primary education as stipulated in the policy is to:-

1. Inculcate permanent literacy and numeracy and ability to communicate effectively.
2. Give citizenship education as the basic for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society.
3. Mold character and develop sound attitude and morals in the child.
4. Develop in the child the ability to adapt to the child changing environment.
5. Gives the child opportunity for developing manipulative skills that will enable the child function effectively in the society within the limit of the child’s capacity.
6. Provide the child with tools for further educational advancement including preparation for trades and craft of the locality.

Basic Science (functioning as singular) is a group of related science subject including environment and mathematics it concern with the study of number, quantity, shapes and process involved in the solution of a problem or study of some scientific field, Collins Dental (2002).

Basic Science facilities affect the life of a common man in the society that the National policy of Education N.P.E (2004) stressed the teaching at all levels of Education in Nigeria under secondary education, one of the broad aims of teaching Basic Science according to NPE (2004) is to equip students to live effectively in our modern age of science and technology and Basic Science is among core subject to be taught in the new 9-3-4 system of education.

Following this development, one of the major entry requirement for study science related courses in senior secondary schools is Basic Science because it is a foundation subject which is also a pre-requisite for all sciences, subjects such as; Chemistry, Physics and Biology, and even humanity courses. It is in this direction that Gire (2002) and John (2005), Basic Science provides the tool as well as the process for solving everyday problems. According to (N.P.E, 2004) one of the road aims of teaching Basic Science is to equip students to live effectively in our modern age of science and technology and is among the core subjects to be taught in the new system of 6-3-3-4 education.

Mother tongue can be refers to a first language (also native language, arterial language, or L1) is the language (s) a person has learned from birth or within the critical period so that a person speaks the best and so is often open the basic of sociolinguistic identity Bloomfield (2008).

Alan Davies (2001), define mother tongue as language of area ethic group rather than one’s first language.

Since the introduction of formal education by the colonial masters, English Language was introduced as a medium of instruction in our schools. Emphasis on the use of English language is still much felt in educational institutions in Nigeria as the various policies of education have classified the subject as a major discipline. ‘The 1882 Education Ordinance for example capitalized on the use of English language as a medium of classroom interaction. Up till the present moment, it is essential to have at least a credit pass in English language at the school certificate level before a candidate could be admitted into any of the Nigerian Universities not mother tongue.

Emphases was also laid on passing the subject before entering other tertiary institutions in the country. Also, the current National Policy on Education (N.P.E. 2004) indicates the importance of English language to any teaching subject despite its preference for the Nigerian child’s mother-tongue as the medium of instruction in nursery, primary and secondary education level.

It should however be noted that some educators frown at the position of English language as a compulsory subject in our schools. They argued in favour of the use of mother tongue as a medium of communication and instruction in the classrooms. The National Policy on Educations’ provision for the use of local language to teach in the background of the education at least three to sixth years of primary education in Nigeria is set to be implemented.

In line with the provision of mother-tongue instruction as a medium of instruction in primaries institutions, Fafunwa (1982) observed that if the Nigerian child is encouraged as beginning of developing curiosity, initiative industry manipulative ability, spontaneous flexibility, manual dexterity, mechanical comprehension and the coordination of hand and eye. The student should acquire these skills and attitudes through his mother tongue. Agun (1991), Fasanmi (2001), Adesina (2003), Aladejana & Odejobi (1999) added that a children’s learn faster and better if they were taught in their mother tongue at the early stage of their education. It was identified that the mother tongue as a medium of that instruction helps the children to acquire facts and information easily.

Primary school children in the age range of (6-11yrs) need to improve level of their achievement or at least the number achieving minimum standard. This target has not been met (Okoro, 2000), although Basic Science retains its dominant position in the education delivery system in Nigeria, the thrust of our educational language policy is the use of the mother tongue or the language of the immediate community in pre-primary and primary education in teaching sciences subject. Interestingly, private educational entrepreneurs provide pre-primary education exclusively through the medium of English language. The mother tongue medium education at the primary school level is provided in less than twenty Nigerian languages throughout the country.

English is exclusively medium of instruction at the primaries, junior and senior levels of secondary school education, several scholars have addressed the core problems of communicative competence in the use of English language and mother tongue as Instruction in Nigeria’s education delivery process in teaching Basic Science and Science in general. Therefore; it is unfortunate that most school leavers (apart from the products of Elite Private Schools) do not possess the required competence in the four language skills for both cognitive and communicative functions.

Okoro, (2000), opined there is no doubt that there is a great diversity of varieties and functions of English Language in Nigeria. For example, it is extensively used in both the Electronic and the Print Media, in the judiciary, the police, the armed forces, the legislative, etc. and as a lingua franca in political mobilization, ethical orientation and population education. This confirms the entrenchment of English as the dominant official language of Nigeria. The Nagging problem however concerns the quality of English that is taught and used in the school system in teaching Basic Science. The concern being expressed in educational circles is the extent to which the variety and quality of English being learned and used in the teaching Basic Science in school system can serve in achieving Nigeria’s educational goals and the objectives.

Moreover; Mother tongue, is defined as the language which a group of people considered to dominate in area acquired in the early years and which eventually becomes their natural instrument of thoughts in Basic Science and communication (you may wish to re-consider other definition of language) (Awoniyi, 2004). Mother tongue is the first language that a person learned. In terms of that view, the person is defined as a native speaker of the first language, although one may also be a native speaker of more than one language of all of the languages were learned without formal education, such as through cultural immersion before puberty. Often a child learns the basics of the first language(s) from family (Wikipedia, 2007). It is therefore generally accepted that in teaching and learning processes, mother tongue of the child is of utmost importance. For one thing, it categorizes a large part of the child’s environment, that is, it used to name most of the objects, actions, ideas, attributes and so on that are so important to him, as well as to any society.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

Basic Science is one of the compulsory subject right from Basic school level. It is the subject that most student are complaining of it’s as difficult to learn and understand even at Basic school levels, then one may begin to ask what might be the causes of this complain?

This may be attributed to the language used in teaching the subject. The researcher investigates the effect of mother tongue in the performance of pupils in Basic Science among primary school pupils in Gusau metropolis.

1.2 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to identify weather the mother tongue has any effect on pupil’s academic performance in Basic Science at Basic schools level in Gusau, Zamfara State. Specifically the study is to:

1. Identify the level of effect of mother tongue on pupil’s performance in Basic Science at primary schools level.
2. Determine whether gender influence understanding of Basic Science when second language is use as medium of instruction.

1.3 Research Questions

The study intends to provide answer to the following research questions:

1. What is the effect of mother tongue on performance of students in Basic Science at basic school level?
2. What is the difference in the performance of pupils were taught Basic Science using second language (English) and those taught using mother tongue (Hausa) at primary level based on gender.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The result of this research will be significant to: Government in mobilizing adequate resources to education sector, it will also serve as guide for the curriculum planners and developers in reducing the high rate of failure and drop out as well as meet the need of teachers and students and to improve equality of education for state holders in selecting the best language as well as saving time and resources.

Also this study would provide thresholds for proper understanding of the impact of mother tongue on student’s performance in Basic science. It will also serve as a rich source of data for consultation by teachers and student in Basic science.

Moreover; the project will form an invaluable material for the academia and the public in general

1.5 Limitation of the Study

The study on the effect of mother tongue on pupil performance in Basic Science is limited to some selected primary schools within Gusau metropolis. The major limitation faced by the researcher was the inability to reach the target audience to conduct the researcher in view as well as to administer the questionnaires amongst teachers of the target primary schools.

To mitigate this and other shortcomings, the researcher had to rely much on mail questionnaire. The completed questionnaire were analysed. Moreover; the short come within which the research project had to be conducted was another great challenge, the huge financial implications and the challenges at the home front were also competing limitations faced during the period of this research work.

In spite of these limitations however; the success and benefits of the study both now and in the future acted as motivation to finish the work. Besides, the limitations identified above are inherent in research studies.

1.6 Definition of the Terms

i. Mother Tongue: is the language that you learn from your parents, brother, sister when you are a baby. Also mother tongue implies the child’s native/indigenous language that is parent’s language.
ii. Effect: the way in which an event action or person change someone or something.
iii. Second language: this implies English language which is the official language for interaction, transaction, communication and learning.
iv. Performance: this also implies acceptable level of skill, proficiency, knowledge and attitude.


2.0 Introduction

In the developing countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and some Asian countries, the use of English as the language of classroom instruction at both lower and higher level of education has become significant. On the other hand, mother tongue plays a very important role in a child’s identity and self-esteem as it provides the basis for the child’s ability to learn. The child finds it easier to learn their second language and other school subjects. It is of considerable advantage to society if many people are multilingual.

In some of those countries bilingual school exist to co-operate the use of English and official language in the content classroom, typically mathematics and science. According to Cumming (1978, 2000a, 2000b), Bilingual Education is define as “the used of two or more language of instruction at some point in a student school career” (cited in Crees & Blackledge 2010:103).

The study at the following hypotheses was:-

ü Research has shown that children first language is the optimal language for literacy and learning throughout primary school (UNESCO 2008) in spite of growing evidence and parent demand many educational system around the world insist on exclusive use of one or sometimes several privileged languages.

UNESCO has encouraged mother tongue instruction in primary education since 1953, and it also highlights the advantages of mother tongue education right from the start children are more likely to enroll and succeed in school. Kosoren (2005) parents are more likely to communicate with teachers and participate in their children learning. Benson (2002) girls and rural children with less exposure to a dominant language stay in school longer and repeat grades less often. Hovens (2002), UNESCO and Bangkok (2005) children in multilingual education tend to develop better thinking skills compared to their monolingual peer only those countries where the student’s first language is the language of instruction are likely to achieve the goals of education for all.


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Effect of Mother Tongue on Pupil’s Performance in Basic Science at Primary Schools Level. Determination of gender influence in Gusau, Zamfara State
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effect, mother, tongue, pupil’s, performance, basic, science, primary, schools, level, determination, gusau, zamfara, state
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Sulaiman Habibu Sulaiman (Autor:in), 2014, Effect of Mother Tongue on Pupil’s Performance in Basic Science at Primary Schools Level. Determination of gender influence in Gusau, Zamfara State, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1038908


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Titel: Effect of Mother Tongue on Pupil’s Performance in Basic Science at Primary Schools Level. Determination of gender influence in Gusau, Zamfara State

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