Shifting Sands

Language Policies in Education in Ghana And Implementation Challenges

  • Akosua Anyidoho University of Ghana
Keywords: communication, l1 in education, l1 literacy, indigenous language in education, language of instruction, Communication, L1 in education, L1 literacy, indigenous language in education, language of instruction, NALAP (National Literacy Acceleration Programme), language policy implementation, language policy implementation, nalap (national literacy acceleration programme)



This paper discusses the lack of consistency in language in education policies which have been endorsed by various governments of Ghana. A small-scale investigation carried out in two regions of Ghana exposes the current abysmal level of attention given to the indigenous languages in the schools in the cosmopolitan areas especially. It argues that the neglect of the indigenous languages might result in a communication gap between the non-English speakers and the educated, English-speaking elite who tend to represent the former group in government. This situation in turn could impede economic development and the democratic process as the voices of the marginalized non-English speakers would not be fully represented in governance. Similarly, the language shifts that the education system tends to promote, in the long term could result in the endangerment or near extinction of the local languages and the indigenous knowledge embodied in them.  The paper ends with recommendations towards addressing the challenges associated with the implementation of the 2004 language policy in education.

Author Biography

Akosua Anyidoho, University of Ghana

Akosua Anyidoho was a faculty member of the Department of Linguistics, University of Ghana, for many years until her retirement. She is now the Director of New York University-Accra. Her research interests include language in education in multilingual Africa, second language teaching and learning, language and gender, and women’s verbal art forms.


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