Feb 23, 2015 (Nyamilepedia)—-Luo tribe leaders have rejected a Northern Bahr al Ghazal state policy decision on mother-tongue language instruction, saying they do not want their children to be forced to learn the Dinka language in schools.
Last week the Ministry of Education in Aweil hosted a conference that resolved that ‘mother tongue’ – Dinka, specifically – must be taught from primary 5 to 8 at schools across the state.
Northern Bahr al Ghazal’s Luo community – which lives mostly in Aweil Center County in the southwest of the state – has rejected the resolution to teach the language of the majority group, the Dinka.
Speaking on Monday, a Luo leader Justin Urio Ajonga condemned the new resolution by Ministry of Education making Dinka instruction mandatory at primary schools throughout state
“I don’t see balance here because in Northern Bahr el Ghazal there are two languages: Dinka and Luo (Jurchol). The resolution is not fair. There must be consideration of Luo language based on the county level. The Luo language should be a must for all primary school in Aweil Center county where Luo(Jurchol) tribe lives.”
He added, “I urge my fellow Luo men to be calm and let us be active to talk for our right.”
Meanwhile, another Luo tribesman James Udhama said, “Dinka Language should remain as any other language – if they say Dinka should be taught across the state what about other languages which are spoken in Northern Bahr el Ghazal?”
James proposed that people should agree that English is the national language and Arabic the local one, otherwise people should agree to use the common East African language Kiswahili.
“That is ignorance of the tribes if Dinka say they are the best,” he said.
Dinka student Yai Mawein commented, “If Dinka Language is to be compulsory the Luo will be included. Also I know that Luo men will complain that their language is not recognized. One problem with Luo is that they refuse to teach their language to other tribes but Dinka is widely spoken throughout the state,” he said.
Many Luo have intermarried with Dinka and also speak the Dinka language.