The Education Ministry will begin the strict enforcement of the use of local languages as the sole medium of instruction in basic schools in Ghana.
This is to support the $71 million learning project which aims at ensuring 80% of basic school pupils are able to read by 2020.
The Education Minister, Professor Naana Opoku Agyeman indicated that only pupils from kindergarten one to primary three will be taught mainly with the local languages.
[contextly_sidebar id=”9r7hUqIC9AjrKc0rLmZZ7wksGEHfhRCJ”]She pointed out that the education sector “has traveled so far away from it [policy] that we need long-term measures to bring it back and make it effective,” adding that, “it important for the nation to “return to the application and the practice of the local language policy that exist already.”
On Monday, the Education Ministry in collaboration with the USAID launched a $71 million project called the Ghana Reading Action Plan (G-RAP).
The project will be implemented within a five-year period and it will train 51,000 teachers who will be equipped to teach pupils to read.
In 2014, an early grade reading assessment revealed that only 2% of primary pupils could read; a situation which alarmed citizens who called for proactive and effective measures to improve the education system.
The G-RAP will thus help increase the number from 2% to 80%.
The Education Minister indicated that the G-RAP is Ghana’s solution to fixing the reading deficiency because “the mark of quality education is the ability of the young learner to read.”
She pledged that her Ministry and the relevant stakeholders will “continue to share in the common vision of enabling our young learners acquire proficiency in literacy and numeracy especially at the foundation level. Such allows for a solid basis for continued education to the highest level possible.”
Teaching pupils in English is punishment
On his part, the Acting Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Jacob Kor said teaching basic school pupils in English is an unfair punishment which does not bring out the true picture of the children’s performance.
“We are punishing our children for no offence. That is not the true picture of our children’s performance,” he said.
He argued that the local language policy dates as far back as the colonial era.
“Even as far back as the colonial era, they started using local languages to teach us and the performance was good and research has abundant results that anybody who starts learning at the early age with the local language does better in terms of income and life-long learning as he grows.”
He warned that if care is not taken, Ghanaian children will end up being anglicized.
Mr. Kor argued that teaching both the pupils both in English and the local languages at the early stages is not recommended.
He was optimistic that the five-year project will tremendously improve the educational standards in Ghana.
The early grade reading assessment will now begin at primary four and Mr. Kor is certain that by then, the students would have mastered the local languages which will make the teaching and learning of the English language easier.
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana
Follow @ osamidan