Mr. Chima Umealo, the Coordinator of Pillar Igbo Schools, says the institutions were set up to promote Igbo language and cultural values in the United States and South Africa.
Umealo, the President of Abia Union, South Africa, told newsmen in Johannesburg on Friday that children in the schools were responding well to the study of Igbo language and culture.
He said that the Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival held in Maryland, US, was aimed at promoting the language and culture of Igbo people.
“ The schools were set up to ensure that the language and culture of the Igbo do not become extinct.
“ The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) had predicted that Igbo language was among those that will become extinct in the next 50 years.
“ One way of preventing this was to set up the schools for our children in the Diaspora and to continue to promote the language and culture,” he said.
Umealo said that many of the children who had not visited Nigeria had impressed guests at the festival with plays and songs rendered in Igbo language.
“ They also cooked native food and entertained the audience with assorted delicacies,” he said.
According to him, the school in America has a population of 200 children while the one in South Africa has more than 20.
“ The response of the Igbo community in South Africa to the setting up of the schools has been positive.
“ We are optimistic that we would get support to actualise the vision of the schools. The necessary foundation and structures have already been laid,” Umealo said.