The governor of Lagos Babatunde Fashola has defended the state government's plan to introduce Mandarin as an operational language into the curriculum of all public schools across Lagos in the 2013-2014 academic year.
The ministry of education is being assisted in drawing up its plans by the Chinese Confucius Institute at the University of Lagos. Fashola said the plan was to give students a functional education in Mandarin and reflected China's importance to the Nigerian economy.
The governor said that the initiative would not discourage the teaching of indigenous languages and stated that Mandarin would not be compulsory. "We will continue to teach Yoruba and other languages but we are saying that giving our pupils the opportunity to learn Chinese will be an advantage in a changing world", he said.
Fashola also said that the emergence of China as a major economic power should compel “any serious government to begin to plan for the future”.