Hameed Ajibola Jimoh

Under the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004-herein after referred to as the Act, Part I of the Act in section 2 provides thus ‘2.-( 1) Every Government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and Universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary, school age. (2) Every parent shall ensure that his child or ward attends and completes his – (a) primary school education; and (b) junior secondary school education, by endeavouring to send the child to primary and junior secondary schools. (3) The stake-holders in education in a Local Government Area shall ensure that every parent or person who has the care and custody of a child performs the duty imposed on him under section 2(2) of this Act. (4) A parent who contravenes section 2 (2) of this Act commits an offence and is liable (a) on first conviction, to be reprimanded; (b) on second conviction, to a fine of N2,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of one month or to both; and (c) on subsequent conviction, to a fine of N5,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of two months or to both.’.

Arising from the above provisions of the Act, this paper is of the view that various means of mass-communication whether electronically, in prints or written forms, etc. should be made using simple words of that of the Junior Secondary School which is the basic free, compulsory universal basic education in Nigeria.

The writer of this paper has observed that the various means of mass-communication do not put into consideration the required minimum standard of education in Nigeria. For instance, the television and radio media are fond of using some high vocabulary i.e. words, in their communication to the Nigerian public. That is why many Nigerians will patronize the local news in the mother-tongue-i.e. Nigerian local languages- than the National News because of communication gaps. It is the submission of the writer of this paper that it will amount to wrong conclusion for any of the media to conclude that because English language is the only internationally spoken foreign language and the most acceptable general means of communication globally, then, the majority of Nigerians understand non-simple words used in the communication. The other challenge is the oral intonation which could be very annoying to an average Nigerian who not only does not understand the words used by the communicator, the manner of pronouncing those words are also very hard for him to listen to comprehend.

It is not a doubt that as far as Nigeria is concerned, the majority of Nigerians are not highly educated. The above provisions of the Act mandates education free universally up to the Junior Secondary School Level. Even as free as it is, the writer of this paper has come across a number of persons who are completely uneducated at their thirties. There are villages where the western education does not have any effect and or impact up till date. Even where education is free, feeding, cost of transporting to the venue of the education is another challenge. The writer of this paper therefore, suggests to government to also provide means of transportation and free feeding at those Primary to Junior Secondary School at least, two square meals such as breakfast and lunch, which will also be a tool for drawing the interest of those uneducated children and their parents and or guardians to the value of education at such basic level. More so that there have been periods like that in Nigeria that there have been free feeding in the past administrations in Nigeria. So, it is not as if it is unachievable in the present administration.

Furthermore, it is suggested by the writer of this paper that articles, books, television programmes, radio programmes, on-line messages, including social-media platforms, magazines, newspapers, law books, journals, etc. as far as they are for mass-communication purposes, should inculcate the language of the English language that is not above that of the standards of Junior Secondary School Level. It is further suggested that where the use of the language or words or vocabulary will be above the Junior Secondary School educational standards, then, equivalent meanings should be bracketed or provided side by side the word(s) used so that persons of Junior Secondary School Level will benefit without the need to consult a dictionary for their meanings and the individual(s) who are elites will also benefit from the work of art. What does the reader of this paper have to say about legal writings?! Very confusing where some words used are derived from latin words without supplying the equivalent meanings!

It must be emphasized that writing work of art that would compel the reader to resort to carrying dictionary to consult for the purpose of verifying the meanings of the words used is not a good communication. For instance, the words ‘What is your name?’ is as simple to such an extent that it does not require the use of any dictionary in order to understand the message being conveyed. And the answers to such question such as ‘My name is Prince.’ is also of such a normal communication that everyone that listens to it understands what the message conveys. It is this kind of expressions that the writer of this paper is emphasizing that writers should make a practice all in the interest of the general public in mass communication. More so, there is the challenge of poor reading culture among average Nigerian youths, the situation which is really pathetic. Therefore, to write any work of art that will compel the reader to consult dictionary meanings in order to understand the meanings will be very annoying and frustrating, especially where such dictionary is not readily available at the time of reading or listening to the communication.

Finally, it is the belief and the hope of the writer of this paper that the reader of this article would agree with the writer of this paper that the use of simple words in mass-communication should be advocated by mass-communicators so that the listener and or the reader would derive and understand the conveyed message(s).

e-mail: hameed_ajibola@yahoo.com

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