Ikọ (Dr) Uche E. Aaron Otumu me usen Usem Obolo 3

On the basis of these enthusiastic positive results, OLBTO is establishing an Obolo Bilingual Education Institution, comprising an Elementary School, a Technical Secondary School, and a Polytechnic. The motive behind the proposal of a tertiary institution is the development of Obolo land, to transform Obolo land into a center of diverse enterprises and industries, with enormous job opportunities. The reason for proposing a Polytechnic rather than a University is that while universities dwell more on theory, polytechnics combine both theory and practice. The Elementary School wing of the institution has already commenced at AgwutObolo under the name, Obolo Bilingual Education Centre (OBEC). Elementary One took off in 2014, Elementary Two in 2015, and Elementary Three is starting in September 2016. Some of the pupils and a teacher from the Centre are here today to represent the school. The leader of this program is Maria Aaron, an advanced PhD student of Bilingual Education at the University of Reading, in the United Kingdom. In order to teach the pupils in Obolo, the Literacy team in charge of the program runs Terminology Workshops from time to time on the different topics such as science and technology, mathematics, computer, social studies, religious knowledge, agriculture, English language, etc.,in order to obtain the necessary metalanguage for these subjects, as is the case in the nine Nigerian regional languages (e.g. Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo, etc.).Then small editions of the books are printed out locally for both the teachers and pupils. These books are here on display for all to see. These terminologies will also be included in the Dictionary of Obolo language. The teachers are trained in Bilingual Education principles and procedures.It is interesting to see the interaction between the teacher and the pupils, even in Elementary One, demonstrating the modern way of instructing through discovery learning, group work, and reporting together. All of this is facilitated through the medium of Obolo language, which is widely understood and utilized by both the teacher and pupils, using objects and concepts that are available in the culture and geography of the area. Obolo language is rich in expressions and full of deep meaning, much of which is not easily translatable into English.

In the curriculum for the proposed Polytechnic,in addition to the normal Engineering, Accountancy, and other courses, some special courses that are very relevant to the development of Obolo land are proposed. One of these special courses is Agriculture with special emphasis on Fisheries, Food Crops, and Forestry. We want to preserve the different species of fish, shell fish, crabs, and crustaceans, that are unique to Obolo waters, and to multiply them quantitatively. We want to discover what kinds of food crops our soil can produce, and how Obolo can become self-reliant as far as food production is concerned. We also want to preserve the animal and vegetation species that are unique to Obolo environment, as well as preserving our forests for tourism etc. One of the important and almost extinct animal species is the elephant. So the concept of elephant sanctuary, as proposed by our brother GogoUjile, is already in the plan, and will attract the support of OLBTO.

From all of the above, it is evident that the language of instruction is the crucial determinant of the quality of education, and learning outcomes. Moreover, it is clear from all the discussion, that an outstanding learning outcome, which is a measure of quality education, is most certainly attained when the language of instruction is the mother tongue. The Obolo example is a clear attestation of this conclusion. OLBTO is determined to pursue this to the end, i.e. the full-fledged development of Obolo land. The objective of OLBTO is to develop and maintain the Obolo intangible heritage (our language), with the view to developing and maintaining our tangible heritage (the geography and history of the land). The impact of the work of the organization is felt in both sectors, both of which affect the sociology and economy of Obolo land. Obolo people know this, and have supported the work with all their heart. It is therefore worth mentioning here that 99% of the sponsorship for all of these achievements is borne by Obolo citizens. The poor contribute from their poverty, and the rich contribute from their abundance. No one wants to be left out. On the same note, Obolo people, I lay before you today a very pressing need. Elementary Three of the OBEC is starting in September this year, 2016. But we have no class room for it in the Bible House where the other classes are being held. So,we desperately need a Primary School building. What will you about this? Ebi Obolo, please come out again en masse and support this noble objective as you did for the Bible, and help OLBTO to bring up a sound and respectable future generation for Obolo land.

Ebi Obolo, Usen ya îre! Obolo ibolo! (Let Obolo be awakened!)

Thanks to the National Commission for Museums and Monuments!

Thanks to the Nigeria Bible Translation Trust!

All praise and glory and honour be to the Almighty God, the Creator and Sustainer of Obolo!

Onirọ! gwu kom.   Si bene me ibot.       Bọkọ ikpa olik.    fo uwu ma.

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