The Promotion of National and Official Language Muhammad Irfan Perdana (2014) defines national language is a language that is symbolic of that country, usually for historical, cultural, and ethnic reasons, whereas, official language as a language that is used for official or formal purposes in a country . He added that a national language is always an official language, but an official language is not necessarily a national language. In the Philippines, Spanish was the official language for many years starting from the 16th century until 1973.
The Philippines constitution designated English and Spanish as official languages in 1935, but mandated the development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native languages. Due to the American administration during the first half of the 20th century, Philippines has two official languages today which are English and Filipino (derived from Tagalog). The Filipino language was adopted in 1946 and understood by a majority of Filipinos while English is also widely spoken and understood.
More than 80 indigenous languages and dialects (basically of Malay-Indonesian origin) are spoken. Besides Tagalog, which is mostly used around Manila, the principal dialects include Cebuano (spoken in the Visayas), Ilocano (spoken in northern Luzon), and Panay-Hiligaynon. The 1973 constitution designated the Tagalog-based “Pilipino”, along with English, as an official language and mandated the development and formal adoption of a common national language to be known as Filipino.
The Language provision in the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines which are embodied in Article XIV, Sec. 6 and 7 provide the legal basis for the various language policies that are being implemented in the country. The provision are as follows: 1. Section 6. The national language of the Philippines is Filipino.
As it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages. 2. For purposes of communication and instruction, the official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and, until otherwise provided by law, English. On the other hand, the English language was introduced in Nigeria by the British when the country was under British colonial rule. Until today, English serves as the official and national language of Nigeria, serving not only as a contact language between Nigerians who could not interact among themselves, but also between Nigerians and Europeans.
English is used as the language of commerce, education, politics, law and administration of the entire country affairs, though in different usages and command (Danladi 2013). English is also the language used in the drafting of legislations as well as in the Nigerian judicial system. English is also incorporated into the education system of Nigeria as the medium of instruction. Other regional languages being spoken in Nigeria are Hausa in the northern region, Yoruba in the western region and Igbo in the Eastern region.
English Language is also used as the only unifying solution to the newly merges country. Knowledge of English is therefore an essential requirement for anyone to promote or live in any wider context of the community, no matter the variety of English. The use of English language in Nigeria promotes group interaction and group relations in varieties of inter-ethnic communication and gives individuals the sense of oneness, unity and loyalty. Besides, English in Nigeria is seen as a weapon because it provides an excellent representation of political supremacy. The Teaching of Languages in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Education There are also several differences in the teaching of languages in the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Education between Philippines and Nigeria. In Philippines primary schools, the Department of Education conducted a system of mother-tongue based multilingual education (“MLE”), where instruction is conducted primarily in a student’s mother tongue until at least grade three. Mother tongue-based bilingual programs use the learner’s first language, known as the L1, to teach beginning reading and writing skills along with academic content.
The second or foreign language, known as the L2, should be taught systematically so that learners can gradually transfer skills from the familiar language to the unfamiliar one (Benson 2004). The students will also be taught several additional languages such as Filipino and English by being introduced as separate subjects no earlier than grade two.
The teaching of Filipino is mandatory in public and private primary schools, and its use is encouraged by the government.Philippines has also conducted the bilingualism in the schools according to the National Board of Education (NBE). The policy was first implemented in 1974 with the title, “Implementing Guidelines for the Policy on Bilingual Education.” Bilingual education in the Philippines is defined operationally as the separate use of Filipino and English as the media of instruction in specific subject areas. Filipino shall be used as medium of instruction in social studies/social sciences, music, arts, physical education, home economics, practical arts and character education whereas English is allocated to science, mathematics and technology subjects.
The purpose of having this Bilingual Education is to achieve competency in both Filipino and English at the national level, through the teaching of both languages and their use as media of instruction at all levels. On top of that, the aspiration of the Filipino nation is to have its citizens possess skills in Filipino to enable them to perform their functions and duties in order to meet the needs of the country in the community of nations (Espiritu 2017). In the same article, Espiritu (2017) highlights several goals of the Bilingual Education Policy including; enhanced learning through two languages to achieve quality education as called for by the 1987 Constitution; the propagation of Filipino as a language of literacy; the development of Filipino as a linguistic symbol of national unity and identity; the cultivation and elaboration of Filipino as a language of scholarly discourse (continuing intellectualization) and the maintenance of English as an international language for the Philippines and as a non-exclusive language of science and technology.Tertiary level institutions shall lead in the continuing intellectualization of Filipino.
The program of intellectualization, however, shall also be pursued in both the elementary and secondary levels. The Higher Education Act 1994 covers both public and private institutions of higher education as well as degree-granting programs in all post-secondary educational institutions, public and private.
In consonance with the Bilingual Education Policy several guidelines for the medium of instruction in higher education are:
1. Language courses, whether Filipino or English, should be taught in that language.
2. Literature subjects may be taught in Filipino, English or any other language as long as there are enough instructional materials for the same and both students and instructors/professors are competent in the language.
3. Courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences should preferably be taught in Filipino. Conclusion In a nutshell, there are several similarities and differences between the language planning in Philippines and Nigeria. Not all countries will come up with the same language plan and policy as the roles of languages vary. Language planners need to follow closely to the language planning map designed by stakeholders and not to forget to conduct the sociolinguistics survey to make sure the language policies are appropriate and meet the country’s aspirations.