Teaching English At The Basic Level; The Other Argument

The Times yesterday carried a report in which the Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, advised teachers to instruct pupils in Ghanaian languages at the basic level of our educational system.

Indeed, the story attracted varied opinions from members of the public. While some supported the Minister’s position, others argued that it is not practicable to teach every school-going child in the Ghanaian language at that level.

The varied arguments underline the fact that this is a subject that would be difficult to deal with.

The most important point is about pupils attending school in cosmopolitan  or urban centres, where the local language is not their mother tongue.  Besides, some of the teachers who are transferred to other parts of the country where they do not speak the local language,  cannot teach in the dominant dialect of the area.

 For instance, how can a native of Ga transferred to Bolgatanga instruct pupils there, in a language he/she does not speak?

The Times fully  agrees with the Education Minister  that teaching in the local language has its advantages, but we are of the view that this might not be practicable in every part of the country.

 We believe the solution to our educational problems is not solely in the medium of instruction at the basic levels, but rather the provision of structures and availability of qualified and dedicated teachers.

The availability of textbooks in the basic schools and the training of teachers in all the major Ghanaian languages should also be a priority, if we are to derive full benefits from the policy.

Indeed, this is a multi cultural society  and the challenges in  the educational sector, must be tackled in a pragmatic way taking into consideration the peculiar situations in the various communities of the nation.

It is important for the entire nation to decide on workable policies, that would be implemented for the benefit of the future leaders of the country.

The district assemblies should also be encouraged to mobilise human resources, to support the schools in recruiting qualified Ghanian language teachers for the schools.

The task is enormous, but it is surmountable.

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