Buoyed by a determination to trace their origins and hold fast to their cultural identity, not less than 800 children in Edo State have completed the Free Edo Language Summer class organised by the Benin Heritage Centre in Benin City, with support from the state government.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, the President of the Center, Squadron Leader Ehi Ighile (Rtd.) said the step was part of the campaign to salvage the highly cherished Edo language from extinction as being promoted by His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N'Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II and the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration.
He said the strategy is designed to encourage young children to learn Edo language and promote unity among them.
He noted that the plan was to train 50 pupils, but the centre was almost overwhelmed when more than 800 participants registered for the programme.
Ighile thanked the children for their enthusiasm, as he urged parents to complement the role of the summer class by speaking Edo language to children.
He also encouraged the parents to give their children Edo names and teach them Edo History and Culture at home, adding that the Center will extend the free Edo language summer class to all the local government areas in Edo South Senatorial District in 2020.
A representative of the Edo State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Eghosasere Afianmagbon, said the Ministry is in support of the programme which engages the children during the holiday.
According to her, learning to speak Edo language should start from the home to enable the children understand the language better, adding that the state government has made Edo language a compulsory subject for students in Junior and Senior Secondary schools across the state.
Representative of the Executive Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs. Dories Asemota said plans are ongoing to deepen the teaching of Edo language in schools so that children will have the opportunity to learn the language effectively.