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Regional News of Sunday, 24 February 2008

Source: GNA

Use indigenous languages to hasten development

Winneba (C/R), Feb. 24, GNA - Dr Emmanuel Nicholas Abaka, a language specialist at the University of Education, Winneba, has said that indigenous languages are the best tools the nation could use to hasten her socio-economic development.

He said strenuous efforts must be made to ensure the effective teaching and learning of Ghanaian languages in all basic schools in the country without any impediments.

Speaking at a symposium organized by the Departments of Ghanaian Languages, University of Education, Winneba (UEW), to round off activities marking this year's 'International Mother Tongue Day' Dr, Abaka, said the only means by which the youth could properly and freely develop their individual God-given talents to facilitate the real economic emancipation the nation was yearning for was through the ability to express themselves well in their mother tongue. The theme for this year's celebration was: 'The Role of Mother Tongue in National Development'.

Dr Abaka cited Japan, South Korea, China, India, Malaysia and other developed nations that had successfully made meaningful impacts in their socio-economic developments through effective and sustained usage of their indigenous languages.

He said unless the teaching and study of the indigenous Ghanaian languages at the basic level of education was encouraged and sustained, it would be difficult for the nation to advance in her socio-economic development at all levels.

Dr Abaka said the time had come for Ghanaians to change their attitudes towards the speaking of their indigenous languages, adding that "We can never substitute our indigenous languages with English", because it is one's indigenous language which gives him or her true identity.

Mr E Avea Nsoh, Department of Gur-Gonja Education, UEW, reminded the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) of their responsibility to ensure the implementation of the education policy calling for the teaching and learning of all Ghanaian Languages for which books had already been written.

Mr Nsoh, a Senior Lecturer of the University of Education, Winneba, was not happy that efforts to secure funds for the printing and publication of written Ghanaian languages had not received favourable response from both the Ministry of Education and the GES. He described the situation as a great setback to the development of the indigenous Ghanaian languages and urged the government to do something about it without delay.

Mr Nsoh said since the teaching and learning of indigenous languages played vital roles in all aspects of nation building, government should leave no stone unturned to ensure that professional language teachers in the educational sector were given the required materials and encouragement to function effectively and efficiently all the time for the benefit of the children and the nation. Mr Joseph Yaw Owusu-Kwarteng, Public Relations Officer of the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme (AESDMHIS) in his contribution added his voice to the call on the Government to provide the necessary financial requirements of indigenous language book writers to enable them to publish books they had written for the benefit of present and future generations.

Mr Owusu-Kwarteng called on indigeno us Ghanaian language book writers to come out with dictionaries in various local languages to help in the teaching and learning of the languages. He advised fresh students of the University of Education, Winneba, who were not registered with the District Mutual Health Insurance Scheme to do so to enable the scheme take care of their health needs. Mr Owusu-Kwarteng also counselled those with introductory letters from other districts to present them to officials of the AESDMHIS for processing to enable them to access affordable healthcare.

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