The Dean of the University of Cape Coast Business School, Professor John Gatsi, is appealing to the government and the Ghana National Association of Teachers to save the dying Ghana languages in schools.
In an interview with Awake News, the educationist stated, Ghanaian languages are fast dying at all levels of education especially at the masters and doctoral levels.
According to him, a nation that loses its languages loses its identity, noting, researchers have unfolded that children that are taught at their basic levels of education in their local languages turn out to pick faster in their education.
“Researchers have found out that pupils that are introduced to studies at the basic level in their local languages turn out to pick faster.” – He said.
To uphold this argument, the educationist said, “The last time I was speaking with a teacher at the secondary school level and he told me that one day he was teaching his students economics but most of them were not understanding until he started teaching the topic in the Ghanaian languages. The teacher said to his surprise, the students start to screen ahhhh sir is that what you were saying all along?”.
He bemoaned the state at which the Ghanaian populace has been brainwashed into believing that its languages are inferior in a manner in which students that are studying for example; Ewe, Twi, or Ga are mocked by their peers who study science-related causes. This, he said is discouraging many students that have an interest in studying languages.
“You will most often hear comments like, ‘where will you take the Ewe or Twi languages you are studying?”.
“Have we ever asked a Chinese or a Korean where they will take their language too?” – he quizzed.
Prof. Gatsi reveals that already there is a government policy that encourages the teaching of children from kindergarten to Primary 3 in their respective local languages and all effort must be made to promote that policy.
When Prof. Gatsi’s attention was drawn to the fact that Ghana has so many languages hence the difficulty in promoting them, he disagreed saying:
“We must focus on the major languages, for example; Twi covers Eastern, Ashanti, Bono, Ahafo, Bono East; Ewe covers Volta and Oti regions; Ga-Dangme covers Greater Accra and part of Eastern Region; Fante covers Central, Western and Dagbani for the Nothern parts. Maybe another major language in the Nothern can be added”.
He said, there is a need for the government through the scholarship secretariat and with collaboration with Ghana National Association Teachers establish a scholarship package to incentivize research and training into Ghanaian languages.
Speaking at the 90th Anniversary of GNAT at Asikuma Odoben Brakwa District of the Central Region, Prof. Gatsi described GNAT as an important stakeholder in the educational system of Ghana appealing to the teacher body to dedicate some quotas of their resources to support the Scholarship Secretariat in providing the opportunity for the study of Ghanaian languages in tertiary institutions.