We need to encourage children to learn in local dialect – Education Minister

The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang has called for a re-look at the language policy of education in Ghana.

According to her, the use of English language to replace the local dialect as a medium of instruction during the first three years of primary school is worrying since some teachers even find it difficult expressing themselves in English.

She made the call at the meet the press session Tuesday.

In 2002, the Government approved the implementation of a new language policy that allowed the use of the English language as a medium of instruction during the first three years of primary school.

The policy came as result of the lack of resources, inadequate relevant textbooks in Ghanaian languages and insufficient teachers with Ghanaian language proficiency to implement the former policy which made use of vernacular as a medium of instruction for the first three years in primary schools.

However, Prof Opoku-Agyemang said there was the need to encourage children to learn the local dialect, adding that, ‘if you speak to a child in a language he doesn’t understand, the language the parents don’t speak, the community does not communicate in, a language the teachers sometimes even have serious challenges in, you set the whole learning process back.’

Listen to the Minister of Education 
‘Don’t worry that somebody’s child is speaking English before yours that is not what matters. What matters is that the child is taught in a language the child knows There is nothing wrong with our languages. There’s everything good in them,’ she said.

She further noted that the process whereby the English language was the main medium of instruction ‘to some extent is very artificial’.

‘So we need to go back to our language policy, teach from KG to P3 in our language and believe me when they start speaking English they will pass those who started from KG. Speaking somebody’s language does not mean you are educated,’ she noted.

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