The President, English Scholars Association of Nigeria (ESAN), Professor Shola Babatunde, has described as ludicrous, calls on NECO and JAMB to stop making Credits in English Language and Mathematics as prerequisites for admission just as he canvassed for the establishment of the English Language Council in Nigeria as part of measures to promote and encourage effective communication in the language.
He stated that the council should be empowered to make pronouncements and policies that enjoy the government's backing for promoting National English.
Babatunde said this on Tuesday at the 37th Annual Conference of ESAN tagged "KWARESAN 2021", which was flagged off at the main campus of the University of Ilorin yesterday.
The conference was themed "English Language and Literary Studies in Nigeria: Realities of the New Normal".
Those expected to form membership of the council, according to him, are patriarchs of English Studies in the country.
Babatunde described as ludicrous the call on the National Examination Council (NECO) and Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to stop making credit pass in English and Mathematics prerequisites for admission into either Universities or Polytechnics.
He said the agitation was unfortunate at a time that complaints had arisen on the low communicative performance of students in English.
He also suggested the creation of the National English Studies Resource Centre to carry out studies on the National English (NE) corpus, implement relevant NE policies and other related matters.
The don, who is of the University of Ilorin, added that the proposed Centre would be an ideal E corpus, implement relevant NE policies and other related matters.
"This is why the call of NECO on the FG and JAMB not to make credit pass in English and Mathematics basic requirements for admission into the universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria is not only ludicrous but also very unfortunate at this time when we are complaining about the low communicative performance of our students in English and when our Arabic and French speaking neighbours are eager to come to Nigeria to learn English.
"The emphasis should be on the improvement of the facilities and the training and employment of an adequate number of teachers to teach the two subjects in order to minimise failure rates.
"My suggestion is that we need to go beyond our previous efforts if we really desire to show that we are running late in our efforts. We need a change of strategies", the don said.
He urged the forum of scholars to collate and store for ease of retrieval all research efforts on the English language in Nigeria, adding that they are presently scattered.
Babatunde said, "The Association has done her best and the efforts are obviously commendable. We however think we need more than an association to take us beyond this point. We propose the need for an English language Council in Nigeria. The council will have as its membership patriarchs of English studies in Nigeria".
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Professor Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, who declared the conference open, noted that since the nation's lingua franca remains English, moving a mountain becomes easy for students if they could put words together appropriately.
He said whatever knowledge derived from the conference was supposed to prepare the participants for a better Nigeria.
At the event, Professor Gabriel Bassey Egbe of the Department of English and Literary Studies, Veritas University, Abuja was the keynote speaker at the event where the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Professor Abdul-Rasheed Na'Allah, bagged an award of excellence.