Ghana’s Minister for Education, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, recently stated her intentions to push through the current language policy, which mandates English language instruction, at the highest level so that school children can be taught in their mother tongue. “[Once] we can remove [English as the medium of instruction], we will change this country,” she said at a recent Shared Prosperity Forum conducted in an effort to combat poverty around the world. Over 46 languages and dialects are spoken in Ghana, but English is the country’s official language and the universal language of educational instruction.
The Minister used the Korean education system as an example; “Because the Koreans were taught in a language they understood, education picked up; because we are teaching our children a language they can’t even follow, we are drawing them back. The real change for me is not about reviewing the curriculum, it is not about extension of construction it is about [cultural] relevancy.” She noted that Ghanaian children are bright, but most of them are trapped in the basic school without being able to advance because they were, “taught wrongly in a medium they couldn’t relate to.” In her closing remarks, Minister Agyemang stressed, “In order for Africa to end poverty it must focus on quality, relevant education delivered in the right medium.”
#Ghana #languagepolicy #mothertongue
Thank you so much for this write up. we Africans tend to want to speak or own English more than the actual owners of the language.
English is not our language and it will never be. It is high time we start teaching our children in our indigenous languages. We have a lot of them which some can be picked to be used as official or language of instructions.
Of course, education should be organized in a language students understand. Ghana’s new policy may risk identifying language of instruction as the primary educational difficulty in that country. This is unlikely to be the case. Much depends on curriculum, central policy, quality of teaching, and instructional culture. If the intent is indeed “to change this country” it’s likely that something more will need to be done other than to change the language of instruction.
Thats’ a shame. Robbing the children from competing globally will actually make their education primitive. We live in a global society and our students must be exposed to English in order to compete globally. The previous rulers of Ghana had the forethought to do that. I request the present rulers to rethink what they they are doing and allow their students the skills necessary to seek an education in the 1st world countries if they have the desire to.
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