By: Kenneth Nsiah Yeboah, Kumasi
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, has called on Ghanaians to pay attention to the use of local languages in communication both at home and in school, adding that the neglect of Ghanaian dialects in favour of foreign languages, is contributing to the loss of cultural identity and societal indiscipline.
Mr Osei-Mensah, made this known at a special event to mark this year’s International Literacy Day in Kumasi.
According to the minister, communication in one’s dialect, is a strong foundation for academic development.
The event was organized by Engage Now Africa (ENA), United Nations Education Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other interest groups under the theme, “Literacy and Multilingualism”.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, explained that it was time Ghanaians pay attention to learning and speaking of languages of their ethnic groups, the same way they attach importance to the English Language.
“It is mind-boggling, that when I hear people from this country saying those who can speak the English Language like parrots are more intelligent than those who speak our languages. In Ghana today, especially in Ashanti Region, you go and speak Twi at a function and I means you the least knowledgeable because you cannot speak the English language. It’s time we have to accept the importance of our local language”, he noted.
The United Nations Statistics show 7,000 languages are spoken worldwide, but some local medium of communication are gradually going extinct.
Out of 83 of Ghana recognized languages, only 40 are written, and 11 is widely used by the Ghana Education Service (GES) in schools.
Mrs. Cecilia Amankwaah, the Country Director Engage Now Africa, called for protection and preservation of Ghanaian Languages.
“There is a need for the country to United and protect her languages and properly hand them over to successive generation”.
Engage Now Africa’s literacy programme, had enrolled nearly 9,000 people in nine regions for adult education since 2014. Some of them receive free skills training in soap and beads making, baking, among others.
Other speakers were; Stephen Gyamfi, Ashanti Regional Director of Non Formal Education Division (NFED), Kumasi Amakomhene and Osei Assibey, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly