According to reports, stakeholders in the education sector have on Monday urged school proprietors and administrators to introduce traditional wears as school uniforms on Fridays to promote the nation’s culture and tradition.
This was made known in separate interviews in Lagos. They stated that the injection of Ankara, Tie-and-Dye, and others local wears into the school system would improve cultural awareness among children and youths.
The administrator, Saint Francis Secondary School, Rev. Fr. Chikere Ukwanyi said the Nigerian culture should be inculcated in the children.
“As a missionary school in Nigeria, we promote culture by giving the children more of locally made foods and make the men wear traditional outfits and women tie wrappers every Friday.
“Every school should ensure they abide by the Ministry of Education’s standard of teaching the language of the locality. Yoruba must be taught in all schools in the South-West region of the country,” he said.
He said that wearing of jeans to schools was alien to the African culture and did not promote the indigenous tradition.
Also, David Ejeagba, the National Coordinator, Childfest Nigeria, a non-governmental organization (NGO) urged school administrators to begin to infuse cultural values in formal education.
“The stakeholders should begin to create cultural awareness which includes speaking and teaching of local dialects and wearing of native outfits on a specified day of the week.
“Jeans is mostly seen as a Western dress-code, though, some may say it’s a smart wear, but our African native wear will look smarter and colourful if made in that trend,” Ejeagba said.
He alleged that some years back an African-American was not allowed to participate in his school graduation because he wore an African outfit in his American school.
“So, if an American school can insist that its graduating students should wear clothes that promote Western culture, it will not be out of place for us here in Africa to promote our traditional fabric as a Friday wear,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr. Israel Abasienyene, an educational consultant with Lineage of Grace, alleged that some private schools were becoming fashion oriented rather than encouraging their pupils to embrace the African indigenous values.
“The interest is gradually drifting from producing proudly Nigerian literate children to having Western-oriented generation,” he said.
A film producer and director, Mr Emma Idemudia, told NAN that wearing local fabrics would not only promote culture but also boost local production of indigenous fabrics.
“It will create employment for local fabric manufacturers instead of promoting the wearing of jeans that was so expensive now in the market.
“We need to wake up to our responsibility, to showcase our cultural values to correct the lapses in this generation,” he said.
According to Idemudia, also a comedian, the computer age youths have more flair for alien culture, tradition, and attitudes rather than our local norms and values which they considered as old
“This should raise our consciences to the fact that we must begin to teach our youths to love our culture and not regard them as old school,” he said.
Mr Tunde Owofade, the Administrator, Holy Family School, Lagos, said jeans were meant for factory workers or labourers and should not be encouraged in schools.
“Jeans is not an official or formal outfit for pupils but it’s appropriate for engineers or factory workers because of its thick stuff, to accommodate any stress.
“We are struggling to teach these children formal and decent norms, jeans wearing will only expose them to the contrary,” he said.
However, Mr Austeen Aghali, a school proprietor, said that he introduced jeans’ wearing into his school to make things look simple for the pupils.
Aghali said jeans would keep the pupils away from the stress of wearing their uniforms for days and the need to wash them on a daily basis.
Though he admitted that it was alien to the African setting, he stressed that the teaching of Yoruba language in school was not negotiable.
The State government had made its teaching compulsory.