The Lagos State House of Assembly is proposing a fine of N500,000 or closure of any school that flouts its proposed law on compulsory teaching and learning of Yoruba Language, when passed.
“A Bill for a Law To Provide for the Preservation and Promotion of the Use of Yoruba Language and for Connected Purposes” before the House seeks to make Yoruba language a core subject in schools.
Presenting a report on the bill on Thursday, the Chairman of the House Committee on Education, Lanre Ogunyemi, said it would enhance the preservation of the language.
According to Ogunyemi, the bill also recommends the translation of all the laws in the state into Yoruba language in order to get to its target.
The Assembly had previously made moves to make teaching and learning of Yoruba Language compulsory in both public and private schools in the state.
The House said such step had become imperative to meet its target of preserving and promoting the indigenous language of the South West from going into extinction.
The bill states further that all state-owned tertiary institutions should incorporate the use of Yoruba Language in the General Studies curriculum.
It reads in part: “The use of Yoruba Language shall be an acceptable means of communication between individuals, establishment, corporate entities and government in the state if so desired by the concerned.
“Any school that fails to comply with the provisions of Section 2 of the law commits an offence and is liable on first violation to issuance of warning and on subsequent violation be closed down and also pay a fine of N500,000.”
Ogunyemi later told newsmen that the committee might amend a provision in the bill, which recommended that it should take effect after two years of its passage.
According to him, most of the lawmakers want the bill to become effective immediately after it is signed into law by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The lawmaker added that the Assembly was passionate about Yoruba Language, which necessitated its adoption for parliamentary debate on Thursdays.
Ogunyemi said: “The National Policy on Education provides that the language of an environment should be spoken in schools, which is why Yoruba Language is being adopted for Lagos schools.
“After the passage of the bill into law, it would become compelling for schools to speak Yoruba Language. We want to preserve the language for generations yet unborn.”
On compliance by private schools after passage, the lawmaker said schools owners were part of the bill and that they were at meetings the committee held across the education districts in the state.
Ogunyemi added that private schools owners would have no choice than to key into the project as they have been properly mobilised, adding that the state Ministry of Education would ensure compliance.
On the translation of the laws into Yoruba Language, Ogunyemi said this was to ensure that those that are literate in Yoruba language were carried along in the scheme of things in the state.
The Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, commended the committee, noting that the bill should take effect once signed into law by the state governor.
The House accepted the report as its resolution as the bill awaits third reading.