Senior lecturer at the Linguistics Department at the University of Ghana, Professor Opanyin Ohene Agyekum is advocating for the teaching of local languages in schools.
In his view, this would help the students grow and accept the speaking of local languages.
He is calling for students to be introduced to local Ghanaian languages before being taught the English Language.
“The indigenous languages, are the tools for our identification, they tally with our culture, the moment you lose that, you are more or less losing your cultural heritage, again, if children master the local language, it will be easier for them to grasp the concept being taught.”
Bemoaning the decline in the use of local languages in the educational sector, Opanyin Agyekum said that the problem was mainly existing in remote areas as basic teachers, instead of teaching the local language for about 3 years, spend the entire 6 year period of basic education teaching the English Language.
He added that it was one of the factors leading to the falling standards of education in the country.
“When you go to the remote areas, instead of teachers stopping the use of local language at the end of primary 3 and start teaching in English at the beginning of primary 4, teachers teach the whole six years, which isn’t
right.” he noted
He also blamed government’s inconsistency with a policy framework regarding the use of local language in schools.
Opanyin Agyekum also blamed publishers for not having enough content in the Ghanaian language.
And on the part of government, this government will come and say, “Let’s do it this way”, another government will say, “we should have done it the other way”, so the will to enforce the policy is not working and when it comes to publishing, how many publishers will publish books in Akan, Twi or Ga?
Speaking further, the Linguistics lecturer blamed the attitude of Ghanaians towards the use of the local language.
According to him, many Ghanaians have negative attitudes towards the use of the local language and thus, should that end, others appreciate it more.
But more importantly is attitudinal, a lot of people have negative attitude towards the Ghanaian language where people are not ready to use it. If we begin to appreciate the benefits of the mother tongue, I think more
of us will begin to appreciate it.
Professor Agyekum made these remarks in an interview with UniversNews following the celebration of today as International Mother Language Day
Story by: Isaac Dadzie|universnewsroom.com