A national dialogue was therefore held in Accra yesterday to help address the critical challenges and bottlenecks hindering the effective implementation of the policy.
Dr. Guitele Nicoleau, Chief of Party, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Ghana Partnership for Education, who addressed the forum, hinted some of the challenges as the multiple language background of some children, especially those in urban areas such as Accra.
She said there were also negative attitudes about the use of Ghanaian language in education, coupled with the fact that teachers deployed to certain areas could not speak the local language of the community.
“This puts the teacher at a disadvantage because the teacher can not use the language to teach the children,” she noted.
Dr. Nicoleau said these critical factors of language mismatch needed to be addressed in order for the policy to be fully implemented.
To have an effective implementation of the policy, she said also that learning materials in their own languages such as books should be made available to help the children practise reading in their local languages.
“There is also the need to have teachers who are able to teach to have proper preparation for language teaching while understanding how to teach reading.
She stressed the need for the community to buy into the notion of the importance of the local language to build the children’s confidence.
Dr. Paul Opoku-Mensah of the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT) and the convener of the event, said one of the methods to tackle the issue was the language mapping exercise which would help stakeholders to understand the nature of the language in different areas of the country.
The exercise would also help to determine the type of language to be used in a particular locality, and understand the language situation in the various parts of the country, especially in the urban areas, he said.
He noted that the exercise would also address the language of the playground where children had a common language when they interacted among themselves, and look at ways to inculcate the language into their studies.
The chairman of Language Policy Work Organisation, Mr. Charles Aheto Tsegah, said the dialogue was to find ways by which language could be used as a driver to enhance effective learning among children.
It was also to ensure that young men and women would deepen their understanding of the local languages and function in many languages.
By Jemima Esinam Kuatsinu