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Stakeholders lobby NASS against banning ‘Queen Primer’ in schools

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Stake holders in the education sector have called on the National Assembly to stop the motion on the floor of the House of Representatives seeking to ban the use of “Queen Primer” in schools.

Queen Primer is a book published in 1888 to help elementary students to pronounce, read and write with ease.

The Country Director, Ipas Nigeria Health Foundation, Lucky Palmer, while speaking in Abuja, at a one-day roundtable meeting with stakeholders, to present findings from a research conducted on “Queen Primer”, said the meeting is to help address misconception around the textbook and developing strategies towards educating people around it.

According to Palmer, “looking at the illiteracy level country, Queen Primer textbook remains a critical text for the better future envisioned for the country.”

Highlighting the importance of the book, Palmer explained that banning the book now is not the way forward, but need for the Nigerian educational institutions to take a critical look at other words that can be used in the process of review.

“Today we just had a session based on motion to ban the Queen Primer book which we all know is meant to help to read and spell. So we wanted to be with the stakeholder to understand the rationale behind it and how do we defend it from happening.

“And as you can see from today, there are a lot misconceptions about what we all know about the book. From our meeting, we have agreed that there should be public sensitization on Queen Primer book which is over 70 years, it is not a new book and it is designed to help everybody to read.

“When we all look at the illiteracy level in our country, we all know that this book remains critical for the better future we all have for our country,” Palmer added.

Earlier in her presentation, Doris Ikpeze, Partnerships and Program Manager, Ipas Nigeria, explained that it is very wrong to take some informations without getting to check their meanings and be misinterpreted and misinformed.

According to her, “Apart from the word ‘Gay’ there is no other word contentious in the book.
So we don’t want some set of people to say the book should be banned without bringing out what these information really is. We should not just sit there and people bring out misinformation, and remain silent. There is a need to correct the misinformation that we have so that our lawmakers and policy makers would begin to understand what this is all about”.

Also speaking, Mrs Ogbonnaya Joy Chris, the Deputy Director FCT Education Resource Centre, Queen Primier isn’t a new book. This is as she supported that the only contentious word I found in it is ‘Gay’ which have been taken out of context of word in English which can mean several things.

“At this level of these children, I wonder what they know about gay. The book is just teaching children how to pronounce and write. Children that have issues with reading and learning alphabets, Queen Primer is the first book we recommend for them and it has helped children over the years to learn to read and pronounce. Two, three letter words. We in education resource center, we are very particular about the books we recommend in the FCT. We are very careful about the moral content of any book we are using.”

In his remarks, the Minister of Education who was represented by the CEO of National Library of Nigeria, Professor Chinwe Veronica Annunobi, said the timing of the meeting is appropriate, noting that the minister is at the verge of reviewing curriculum for basic and secondary school in line with his mandate.

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