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Challenges of Teaching and Learning the Igbo Language at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Nigeria (lay summary)

This is a lay summary of the article published under the DOI: 10.32996/ijllt.2019.2.2.29

Published onJul 03, 2023
Challenges of Teaching and Learning the Igbo Language at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Nigeria (lay summary)

Students no longer want to study Igbo, the native Nigerian language

In 2019, a researcher found that generally students are not interested in learning the native Nigerian language called Igbo. The author said that the government must update learning materials and must have rules that students have to follow to be allowed into Igbo classes at universities. 

Almost 20 million people in the south-eastern part of Nigeria speak Igbo. But, some predict the language will become nearly extinct by 2025, so more should study it at university level.

The researcher wanted to understand why students don’t want to study the Igbo language at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University in Nigeria. They looked at problems with both teaching and learning this language. 

They interviewed 4 Igbo language lecturers and 15 Igbo language students from  Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University. They asked the participants questions and observed their day-to-day activities.

The researcher found that there are indeed problems with learning and teaching Igbo at the university. 

They report that students said they struggle with pronouncing Igbo words. Students also believed learning the language won’t help them in society or internationally.

Lecturers said it's hard to teach the language because there are no books written in Igbo. Also, not everyone writes Igbo in the same way, and there is a lack of native words for technological terms. Igbo dictionaries are not updated either.

 They found that other language classes had more students than Igbo, and the university put students in the Igbo class if they didn’t get into the class of their choice. 

The researcher hopes that identifying these barriers will help universities understand how to get more students studying Igbo so that the language can be preserved. 

The researcher recommended a few options in this regard. They said the university should have a place for students to listen to the Igbo language, and students must write a test to be allowed in the class. Books should be updated and translated into Igbo, and the government should create jobs for people who studied Igbo.  

The author of this study was based in Nigeria. 


This study identifies and describes the problems of teaching and learning of the Igbo language at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Nigeria.  In the last two decades, it has been observed that there has been a substantial decrease in the proportion of students who applied for or even enrolled to study the Igbo language at university level in Nigeria. Using survey design, this study investigated the problems associated with the teaching and learning of the Igbo language. Fifteen Igbo language students and four Igbo language lecturers at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam campus were used to obtain information.  Two instruments were administered on participants selected for the study. Results indicate that lack of Igbo pedagogical materials, attitude of people towards the language among other things prevent the smooth teaching and learning of the Igbo language. The paper concludes that although efforts are made by scholars to revitalize and popularize the study of Igbo language, interest and enrolment among prospective students are still very low.


This summary is a free resource intended to make African research and research that affects Africa, more accessible to non-expert global audiences. It was compiled by ScienceLink's team of professional African science communicators as part of the Masakhane MT: Decolonise Science project. ScienceLink has taken every precaution possible during the writing, editing, and fact-checking process to ensure that this summary is easy to read and understand, while accurately reporting on the facts presented in the original research paper. Note, however, that this summary has not been fact-checked or approved by the authors of the original research paper, so this summary should be used as a secondary resource. Therefore, before using, citing or republishing this summary, please verify the information presented with the original authors of the research paper, or email [email protected] for more information.

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