Osafo-Maafo Declares Position On Language Policy

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Wed Feb 15 14:09:51 UTC 2006

Osafo-Maafo Declares Position On Language Policy

Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
February 14, 2006

By Rachael O. Amakye

The Minister of Education, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has declared his ministry's
position on the language policy for teaching pupils at the primary level,
thereby accepting that English should be used as the medium of instruction
at the kindergarten and primary level. According to him, the white paper
on the report of the Education Reform Review has dealt extensively with
the medium of instruction at the primary level as it has recommended the
children's first home language and Ghana's official language. In a chat
with this reporter, he said government was aware of the importance of
children's native language as an effective communication tool for teaching
learners at this level.

He noted that government was mindful of the depth of research, which
provided a scientific base for the use of parental language as a medium of
teaching, communication, generally, in the early stages of education.
Osafo-Maafo touched on an aspect of the report that suggested that in
places where teachers and learning materials were available and linguistic
composition of classes was fairly uniform, the children's first language
should be used as the dominant medium of instruction in kindergarten and
lower primary. At the same time, he said it has been established that an
early and routine acquaintance with second, third or even fourth languages
greatly conferred on children in their life long proficiency in those

When quizzed on ways of solving the problem on the provision of
mathematics and science teachers to senior secondary school, he explained
that government was working out a programme to introduce incentive
packages to increase the number of science and mathematics teachers at all
levels of education. According to him, in the meantime the staff
establishment system has provided opportunities for senior secondary
schools to employ teachers, particularly mathematics and science teachers,
to teach in their schools within their approved staff establishment

"The heads of the schools are advised to seek assistance to recruit
teachers for these subjects through the regional offices," he said.
Dilating on the study leave system, Osafo-Maafo indicated that staff of
the Ghana Education Service (GES) who have been granted study leave with
pay are bonded and therefore expected to return to service for a specific
period. "Any staff who fails to avail themselves for posting are requested
to pay the value of the bond, which is five times the total amount spent
on the individual," he warned.

He added that subjects that attract study with pay vary from year to year,
depending on the needs and analyses conducted by the district/regional
directors. But he did not hesitate to say that the GES determines the
number of applicants to be granted study leave with pay in a given year.

For the 2005/2006 academic year quota is 3,000 teachers.

Copyright  2006 Ghanaian Chronicle.

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