Lagos - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said on Sunday that the plan by the state government to introduce Mandarin in public schools was not to discourage the teaching of indigenous languages.
The governor said during the commemoration of 2,000 days of his administration in Ikeja that the introduction of Mandarin in schools was to give pupils functional education in consonance with current realities.
He said the emergence of China as a major economic power should compel any serious government to begin to plan for the future.
Fashola, however, said that no child would be compelled to take the language in school.
The Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, recently announced plans by the government to introduce Chinese language in all public schools.
``Our plan to introduce Chinese in schools is not to discourage or stop the teaching of indigenous languages in schools.
``We will continue to teach Yoruba and other languages but we are saying that giving our pupils the opportunity to learn Chinese will be an advantage in a changing world.
``Whether we admit it or not the Chinese are taking over the global economy and we are only preparing our pupils for the opportunities that the use of Chinese language as the possible language of the future might provide,`` Fashola said.
He said the various interventions by the state government in the education sector had made positive impacts on the standard of education in the state.
The governor said the state was now ranked among the states with the best public education in country, while the pass rate in WAEC had moved from less than 20 per cent in 2011 to over 38.28 per cent in 2012.
He further said the recent training and deployment of over 3,000 health volunteers to Primary Health Centres across the state had boosted healthcare delivery at the grassroots.
Fashola said the the establishment of Maternal and Child Care centres had significantly reduced cases of infant mortality and promoted mothers` health.
Commenting on infrastructure development, the governor said the contract for the expansion of Mile 12 to Ikorodu had been awarded, while a number of inter-city roads across the state had been constructed.
He said the state had recorded some achievements in sports with sound sports development initiatives, saying competitions like the Governor`s Tennis Cup and Principal Cup had helped in discovering some talents.
The governor said the decision of the state to host the18th National Sports Festival was to further develop talents and promised that this year’s edition would be the best ever.
Fashola said the development of inter modal transport system, comprising light rail, BRT system and ferry services was to facilitate the easy movement of people and goods.
He said the enactment of the traffic law was to address the problem of congestion in the state and ensure safety and security of lives.
He restated the commitment of the state government to make life more meaningful for residents and called on residents to support the government through compliance with rules and payment of taxes.
Some of the guests present on the occasion include Mobolaji Johnson and Lateef Jakande, both former governors of the state as well as Mr Frederick Faseun, leader of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC).
Others are members of the state Executive Council as well as representatives of interest groups, voluntary organisations, traders and artisans.