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Achieving Effective Governance Hinged on Prioritizing Indigenous Languages – Prof. Agyemang

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The Acting Dean of the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Kofi Agyekum says achieving effective governance in Ghana can only be realised through prioritizing indigenous languages.

He says any community that is governed through a foreign language marginalizes its populace from fully participating in its affairs.

“Anytime we are impoverished in a language which is not our own, then it is more or less they are kicking us out of the political discussion. This is exactly what is happening. It is important to inculcate grassroots participation in governance through the mother tongue. Whenever the language is switched from that of the masses, plans for economic, agricultural and industrial developments are more difficult to make”.

Professor Agyekum, speaking at a public lecture organized by the Department of Ghanaian Language and Linguistics, UCC to commemorate this year’s International Mother Language celebration, noted that Ghana’s local languages should be developed to become a means of regular communication and not regarded as barriers.

He said most of the world’s economic and political super powers such as China and Germany chalked such feat by developing their local languages.

Prof. Agyekum spoke on the theme, “Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation”.

Professor Kofi Agyekum also mentioned the non-adherence to the policy of teaching Ghanaian languages as selected by the Ghana Education Service in schools does not only rip Ghana off its identity but also denies children their linguistic rights which can hinder their creativity and excellence.

“Every child has got creativity in him or her to produce something creative using language. The moment you deny the child that language, you are putting some blockade into the creative powers of the child forcing him to express in a language which is foreign to him and the genes of his race. AU now sat down and saw the need for the African languages or the mother tongue and stated that language is the heart of a people’s culture. To understand your culture very well, you have to resort to your language and those of us in the ethnographic field will say that language and culture are inexplicably interwoven”.

Professor Agyekum further suggesting some measures that could be adopted to promote the use of Ghana’s indigenous languages said, “If we want to develop our language very well, we need to get it into the maths books, to translate some Caribbean or African languages into our literature. We can contract qualified Ghanaian language experts from UCC, Legon, to write books for the Ghanaian languages because the children need to read.  There should be refresher courses for teachers of Ghanaian languages for them to impact their skills in teaching so that the children will feel good and enjoy their teaching”.



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