The Vice President, Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur has said there is the need for Ghanaians to improve their proficiency in both domestic and international languages so they could communicate and integrate better with the rest of the world.
Speaking at the inauguration of a multi-purpose language centre at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on Friday, Vice President Amissah-Arthur said with the country surrounded by francophone countries, improving communication skills was an important aspect of national policy.
Citing instances in which one becomes dependent on interpreters at international conferences, he stressed that “for Ghana to be part of this globalisation, we need to improve our communication skills in languages; in both our own domestic languages as well as international languages”.
The centre, named “Amissah-Arthur Language Centre,” after the Vice President, was initiated in 2003 under the Ghana Education Trust Fund but stalled and was continued by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) in 2012 when he was the governor.
The two-storey ultra-modern centre, has computer laboratories, library, offices, archives and museum, conference and meeting rooms, editing suite and store, multi-purpose studio, auditorium and restaurant.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur, recounting the history of the edifice, said the project was part of the BoG’s contribution towards research and learning in public universities, an initiative of which University of Ghana and the University of Development Studies have also benefitted.
He said it was government’s responsibility to support the educational system through the provision of infrastructure and other needs, and stated that government would continue to commit resources to improve the system.
He urged the university to set its priorities so a project could be completed at a time, and called on other stakeholders of the university to embark on other projects.
While praising UCC for championing the study of languages, he urged them to properly maintain the centre to benefit more young people.
First Deputy Governor of the BoG, Mr. Millison Narh, for his part, noted that the centre would be beneficial to the economy as international experts were needed to facilitate trade transactions and contract negotiation with the rest of the world through the translation of documents and interpretation of discussions.
He said with the increasing number of non-English speaking tourists, the country needed to create a cosmopolitan language environment and inculcate into students the desire to be multilingual to enable the country maximise the benefits from the economic integration with other countries.
Mr. Narh said the centre provides opportunity for the university to intensify its collaboration with industry to build the capacity of professionals as well as render interpretation services for organisations during international conferences both of which could be commercialised to generate funds to maintain the facility.
For his part, the out-going Vice-Chancellor of UCC, Prof. Domwini Kuupole said the Department of Economics of the university had initiated collaboration with the Centre of Excellence of the BoG to run programmes in microfinance to ensure strict adherence to professional and best practices.
He expressed gratitude to the Vice President and successive governors of the bank for helping the university realise its dream, and called on other corporate institutions to continue to support the university.