Ghanaian historian, Nana Osei-Bonsu Sarfo-Kantanka, has called on managers of educational institutions across the country to desist from punishing students who speak local languages while in school.
He said they should be encouraged to speak the local languages to better understand the culture and heritage of the country.
The historian attributed his point to the fact that some foreign countries prioritise their local languages, thereby requiring that a person upon arrival in the country speaks and understands the language.
Speaking to KMJ on Prime Morning, he said, “If you go to school, it is written ‘Speak English.’ If you spoke the local dialect, you would be spanked. All these things must be removed.”
“If you go to India, you have to learn Hindi to be able to study at the university. Why can’t we learn from them?” He quizzed.
Despite the fact that English is an international language that cannot be abolished, Nana Osei-Bonsu opined that it could be blended with the local languages so as to activate the country’s heritage.
He also believes that the Ghanaian languages are likely to fade out as generations pass, if parents do not insist on speaking the local dialects with their children.
Nana Osei-Bonsu encouraged people to make efforts and speak their local languages at all levels to maintain the cultural heritage of the country and its relevance.
“Even if just twenty people are speaking the language, it should be encouraged at all levels. If we’re able to do that, gradually ours will take over the so-called international language. In our houses, parents should be serious and speak our local languages with their children,” he entreated.
The country celebrates Ghana throughout the month of March every year to commemorate her Independence. The historian thinks that people’s enthusiasm for the celebration is depleting as the years evolve.
He believes people’s interest is dwindling because most designers in recent times are adding foreign products to their designs.
The historian also indicated that opinion leaders can be blamed for the low interest of the people as they have failed to insist on the involvement of local languages in the school curricula.
As to whether the late Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah would have maintained the country’s heritage if he were alive, Nana Osei-Bonsu said, “Who knows that he would have kept doing what he was doing because politicians are dictated to.”
However, Ghanaians are encouraged to project the culture globally by wearing locally made designs, eating Ghanaian food, and speaking the local languages among others, throughout the month of March.