National Policy on Local Language soon

mdeA National Policy to help Ghanaian children speak more than one local language in basic schools, is in the offing.

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 

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