The Ghana Institute of linguistics, literacy and Bible Translation (GILBT) has called for the development of Ghanaian languages as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
Ghana’s Policy on Education between 1974 and 2002 made Ghanaian language the medium of instruction in education but the government sought to reverse that in 2002 by introducing a new policy in the September 2002 academic year but that was met with a public outcry.
According to the GILBT, though the attempt was reversed in 2007, the legislature is yet to demonstrate its commitment to the development of the mother tongue as captured in Article 39(3) of the constitution.
It states: “The State shall foster the development of Ghanaian languages and pride in Ghanaian culture”.
Speaking at a stakeholders conference to identify challenges and develop strategic mechanisms in the development of mother tongues, the Director of GILBT, Dr Paul Opoku Mensah, said the legislature has a critical role to play in developing the various mother tongues in Ghana.
“Government has been left off the hook for too long when it comes to funding of interventions to develop mother tongues…The 1992 Constitution mandates governments to develop our mother tongue but for several years, that responsibility have been relinquished to donor partners and I do not think it’s helping” he said.
Professor Kofi Agyekum of the University of Cape Coast urged Ghana to pick the plato approach in developing our mother tongues.
He said trying to impose one mother tongue on citizens can bring about chaos due to the sensitivity of language, thus each citizen should be allowed to choose any language as the second language going forward as a country.
“Any imposition of one language on the people in a multilingual country like Ghana can bring about chaos, but the plato approach will allow each language develop on its own accord, and one day given the chance one of these languages will emerge as the national language” he said.
Pro Kofi Agyekum noted though it may take a longer period to achieve that, he was optimistic it can be achieved with the needed attention.
By Ismail Zubaida|3news.com|Ghana