Professor Kofi Anyidoho, Chairman of the University of Health and Allied Sciences’ Council has appealed to the British government to re-open the British Council Library in Accra.
He observed that the British Council library served as central reference point for research and other academic projects but regretted that such useful academic facility had been closed down for some years now.
Prof Anyidoho, a lecturer at the English Department of the University of Ghana, made the appeal when addressing the opening session of the 16th annual delegates conference of the Ghana Association of Teachers of English (GATE) in Sunyani on Thursday.
The five-day conference has the theme, “Inculcating the habit of reading among learners: The role of the English language teacher.”
Prof Anyidoho stated that the country ought to ensure that modern library facilities were made available, especially at the community level to make it easy for students and researchers to access.
That, he noted, would inspire the younger generation to develop interest in reading, and also create avenues for them to unearth their God-given talents.
The Professor in literature stressed the need for the Ghana Education Service to strengthen the teaching and learning of local languages at the basic level.
Prof Anyidoho pointed out that if school-going children understood and were able to read and write their native languages, it would be easy for them to learn the English language, which served as academic gateway to academic excellence.
He advised parents to always buy story and other literature books and materials for their children.
Prof Daniel Obeng, the Pro-vice Chancellor of the University of Energy and Natural Resources, expressed concern about the poor reading habits among Ghanaians.
He observed that lack of reading was the major contributory factor to the abysmal performance of students, especially in international examinations.
Mr Joseph Dzasimatu, the National President of the GATE, said according to the Chief Examiners report, students’ poor performance in subjects such as Mathematics and Science was due to their inability to understand the English language.
He expressed concern that the GES continued to put emphasis on the teaching and learning of science, ICT, mathematics and technical and vocational related courses without recognition to the English language.
“It is about time the government approaches the teaching and learning of the English language as a critical subject and include the English language teacher in the category of special teachers who are slated to receive the marked premium”