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General News Sat, 11 Sep 2021

The perception that only English speakers are literate is shameful - Opanin Agyekum

Literacy goes beyond English speaking, reading and writing, Professor at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Ghana, Prof. Kofi Agyekum has emphasized.

Speaking on The Lowdown on GhanaWeb TV, Opanin Agyekum, as he is popularly called said it is rather unfortunate, the misconception that has been formed over time about literacy and its connection to the English language.

According to him, it is shameful for anyone to tag only English speakers with literacy considering literacy takes into consideration every language.

“Literacy is the ability to read and write a language or languages, and all languages can be factored into that definition. If you look at it like that, if someone can read and write any of the Ghanaian languages, that person is a literate in that specific Ghanaian language.

“So we are going to have literates in Ewe, Kassem, Ga and Akan, etc. so that’s how we have to look at literacy. We have some people who are literates in English but illiterate in their own Ghanaian languages but that’s a shame,” he said.

“People pride themselves because they are illiterate but are not ashamed they are illiterate in their own languages – they can’t write, they can’t read. So they are literate in English but illiterate in their languages and they are not bothered about it.

“They rather tease people who can read in their own languages and cannot read in English but we are all the same. We are all English in one language and illiterate in other languages,” he added.



Prof. Agyekum further called for the development of local language learning in Ghana, noting that its advantages are countless.

“If you go to school, it is the duty of the teachers to teach you English but you need to teach your children your local language, and when you do that you are inculcating some sort of social and cultural identity in them.

“If you can also study Akan, it is not a case that you are intellectually bad, that has been my crusader and I can tell you I’ve never regretted being an Akan scholar,” he added.

Watch the full video below:

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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