[lg policy] Ghana:

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Oct 7 15:46:39 UTC 2015

Stakeholders meet towards revising Language Policy

Dr Paul Opoku-Mensah, the Executive Director of the Ghana Institute of
Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT), has said local
languages must be at the center of Ghana’s development and education.

Dr Opoku-Mensah explained that the current situation where the country was
oscillating between English and Ghanaian languages in the early years, with
prevailing negative attitudes towards the use of local languages, and a
preference for English, did not augur well for development.

He was speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting at Tamale, the first in the
series to be held across the country to collate input towards the revision
of the country’s current Language Policy used as a medium of instruction at
lower levels of education.

The meeting was attended by officials from the Ministry of Education (MoE),
Ghana Education Service (GES), representatives from various language groups
including academia, chiefs, and civil society organizations drawn from the
Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.

Experts say the implementation of the existing Language Policy,
particularly, as it relates to the inclusion of the Mother Tongue –
Ghanaian Languages – in Education has been uneven and problematic at its
best, hence the need to revise it through broad stakeholder dialogues to
create a sense of legitimacy and ownership for the policy.

Therefore, the review of the policy is critical to the success of the Ghana
Partnership for Education project dubbed, ‘the Learning Project,” being
undertaken by GILLBT in all the regions, with support from the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID) and fhi360.

It is an integrated project designed to support child literacy improvement
activities and is implemented by the MoE and GES, with other affiliated

Mrs Cynthia Bosumtwi-Sam, the Director of the Curriculum and Research
Development Division of GES, said the MoE and GES attached seriousness to
efforts to revise the existing Language Policy and called for frank
suggestions to enrich it.

Dr Guitele Nicoleau, Chief of Party of the Learning Project, said there
would be in-service training for 51,000 teachers across the country, with
the provision of supplementary materials to support educational curriculum

Professor Kwesi Kwaa Prah, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of
the Western Cape, South Africa, who delivered a lecture on, “The Language
Question in Ghanaian and African Education,” encouraged all to attach
seriousness in using the local languages for teaching and writing purposes.

Professor Prah said language was the most important feature of culture,
explaining, “When a society ceases to grow in language, then the society is


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