Social media buzz about British accent for Nigerian children

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By Anita Eboigbe

Nigerians took to the twitter reacting to reports that parents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) pay extra fees for their children to learn British accent.

The story by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), which broke out on Monday, sparked a conversation on Twitter around the social implications of the trend.

It was tweeted first by @DoubleEph who quoted it and wrote: “Nigeria, as I keep saying, is a social scientist’s wet dream.”

His tweet generated hundreds of re-tweets and responses berating the idea of using an accent to judge the intellect and quality of education that a person possesses.

@reigncoker wrote: “A colonialism relic. One can totally be eloquently speaking in a Nigerian accent. But discrimination/elevation due to accents is real.”

@nucleartesla tweeted: “This happens in the US – I have known people whose parents didn’t teach them Spanish, so that they have a greater chance of having an American accent.”

@Omoba wrote: “The funniest line from this article is the mother no longer understanding her children.

“In the name of ‘phonee’ and they will end up sounding like the ‘peng ting bruv’ accent on the radio. A scam.”

@theJafmiester tweeted: “the best part is that they’re probably teaching them ‘fake’ accents.”

@Emmanuel_brills wrote: “What nonsense!!! The things people do because they have extra cash to spare are appalling.”

@msshuaibu tweeted: “An overdose of Western imperialism take to a fever pitch level.”

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Critically acclaimed journalist and civil rights activist Kayode Ogundamisi also shared the post on his twitter handle @ogundamisi tagging it “Locally Acquired Foreign Accents (LAFA)”, which received reactions from his followers.

NAN investigations in schools around Garki, Gwarimpa, Wuse, Asokoro and Maitama in FCT revealed that the teaching of British accent had been included in the curriculum.

The classes, developed to satisfy parents, were named ‘Phonics’, ‘Elocution’, ‘Enunciation’ and ‘Diction.

These classes were most times separated from the normal English and Literature lessons commonly found in schools and were allocated special times in the timetable.

Classes in the schools go for cumulative prices between N10, 000 and N25, 000 per term, added to the standard school fees.

Some schools visited by NAN said such classes were optional but pressure from some parents was gradually making it popular.

According to some parents, having their children speak in British accent gives them a feeling that they are receiving proper formal education; unlike the standard they (parents) had in their time.

They said since English originated from Britain, it was important that children learned to speak it in the proper accent, adding that it would help the children to relate better with people abroad. (NAN)


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