Ghanaians Can’t Read Local Language – Kojo Yankah
THE PRESIDENT of the African University College of Communications (AUCC), Kojo Yankah, has stated that most Ghanaians are unable to understand national issues and contribute constructively because they cannot read and write in the local languages.
At an event to launch the Community Libraries Foundation at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Mr Yankah stated that most people who try to define illiteracy in Ghana tend to forget that reading and writing local languages formed an essential part of the definition.
‘If you ask me, I will say that most of the problems we face in Ghana today are due to our inability to read and write. By reading and writing, I do not mean to read and write in only English, I refer it equally to those who cannot read and write in their local languages and that is where the illiteracy is,’ he said.
The Foundation which is a not-for profit organization presented over 600 books to the Ghana Library Authority. Since the establishment of the foundation in 2009, over 20 communities across the country had benefited from the library books donation project.
Mr Yankah commended the executives of the foundation for taking up such a challenging task to get people into the habit of reading. Prof Maxwell Owusu, Ms Afia Appiah, Prof Helen Lauer, Dr Akosua Darkwah and Prof K.A. Ninsin are the brains behind the Community Libraries Foundation.
‘I wish to commend the patrons and directors behind the Community Library Foundation. I cannot for a moment underestimate the huge challenges facing this group of dedicated persons and I admire their courage because sometimes it is scary to think about what to do with Ghana when it comes to books and reading. I admire them for the courage and their sense of vision,’ said Mr Yankah.
The AUCC boss added that most people in authority do not have the habit of reading and writing both in the local languages and in English. Such a trend, he added, is also taking place among the youth and the coming generations.
‘Sometimes, we think those who cannot read and write in English are the illiterates but there are many more illiterates around. Our communities are foundation centres of growth formation, wisdom learning and group mobilization. We have the chiefs and traditional heads, pastors, head teacher and few teachers, and you have the modern version of district assembly honorable members who collectively are the opinion leaders and mind shapers.’
‘The question here is, who among the set of people mentioned above enjoy reading? Where are the books and how reliable is information coming from the noise makers on our radio stations these days? What does the assembly member read before attending the next assembly meeting?’ quizzed MrYankah.
He therefore took solace in the fact that Community Libraries Foundation was demonstrating keen interest in this great course to ensure that people continue to read and write.
‘My joy at seeing the establishment of non-governmental bodies like the Community Libraries Foundation relates to the realization that all is not lost. We have in Ghana men and women outside of government who are demonstrating their deep concern for this state of affairs threatening to erode our much held democracy. For what is democracy when only a tiny minority is very well-informed and the rest are mere followers.’
BY Nii Ogbamey Tetteh
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