[lg policy] Ghana: ‘We need to encourage children to learn in local dialect’

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 4 19:23:30 UTC 2014

‘We need to encourage children to learn in local dialect’


 The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, has called
for a re-look at the language policy of education in Ghana.

According to her, the use of English language to replace the local dialect
as a medium of instruction during the first three years of primary school
is worrying since some teachers even find it difficult expressing
themselves in English.

She made the call at the meet the press session on Tuesday.

In 2002, the Government approved the implementation of a new language
policy that allowed the use of the English language as a medium of
instruction during the first three years of primary school.

The policy came as result of the lack of resources, inadequate relevant
textbooks in Ghanaian languages and insufficient teachers with Ghanaian
language proficiency to implement the former policy which made use of
vernacular as a medium of instruction for the first three years in primary

However, Prof Opoku-Agyemang said there was the need to encourage children
to learn the local dialect, adding that, “if you speak to a child in a
language he doesn't understand, the language the parents don’t speak, the
community does not communicate in, a language the teachers sometimes even
have serious challenges in, you set the whole learning process back.”

“Don’t worry that somebody’s child is speaking English before yours that is
not what matters. What matters is that the child is taught in a language
the child knows… There is nothing wrong with our languages. There’s
everything good in them,” she said.

She further noted that the process whereby the English language was the
main medium of instruction “to some extent is very artificial”.

“So we need to go back to our language policy, teach from KG to P3 in our
language and believe me when they start speaking English they will pass
those who started from KG. Speaking somebody’s language does not mean you
are educated,” she noted.


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