According to a former minister of education, many children fail English Language in school because the medium of instruction is in English and not in the local languages.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show, Tuesday, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman explained that English which is Ghana’s medium of instruction is a major factor in determining the academic progress of students since most children have to learn English first to use in class to understand other subjects such as Mathematics and Science.
She disclosed that during her time in office working with her outfit on improving the quality of education in the country, the team realised that the only obstacle preventing the improvement of quality was the use of language.
“When we moved into the Ministry of Education because our emphasis was on quality, we needed to look at all the markers that were not raising the quality as high as we thought it should be. All the indicators pointed to the use of language.
“When some of us are able to speak English with our children, we assume it’s the same for everybody but it is not,” she said.
According to the academic, teaching in English creates alienation not only between the children and their parents but between the parents, communities and the school.
She suggests alternatively that for children to enjoy the learning process in school they should be taught in local languages instead and for parents or guardians to also appreciate what their children learn in school.
“If you use the language the child speaks, the mother speaks, you help the child to appreciate what their own children are learning. Otherwise, you create what we call an alienating effect. Some would say, ‘I don’t speak English and you say I should come to the PTA to listen to what? I don’t even understand what is going on’.”
“If you alienate the parents from their own child’s progress, you’re not helping because you know it’s not only the teacher, but the parents and the community involved too. You are teaching the child in a language the parents don’t understand and the community doesn’t communicate in.”
“Why are we surprised that we have used English for how many hundreds of years, for farmers, for so many things, before it became the medium of instruction and our children are still failing English?” she questioned.