The language policy of education at the lower primary levels in Ghana has had a checkered history because of the multilingual situation. In May 2002, Ghana promulgated a law which mandated the use of English as the medium of instruction from primary one (grade one) to replace the use of a Ghanaian language for the first three years of schooling, and English used thereafter. Currently, teachers are required to use a Ghanaian Language as a medium of instruction from grade 1-3. The current policy has attracted a lot of criticisms from a section of academics, politicians, educators, traditional rulers, and the general populace with the basic argument that the policy like the previous ones was enacted without any objective behavioural data. The harsh reality is that the policy is not strictly adhered to in majority of Ghanaian classrooms. Children who experience difficulties at school due to the ‘language of instruction’ are likely to feel frustrated and quit. The continuous increase in dropout rate in Ghanaian schools could be interpreted as an index of the use of unfamiliar language of instruction. Of the approximately 86% children that are enrolled in primary schools in Ghana, about 29% dropout (Ghana Education Fact Sheet, 2020) i.e. are unable to complete the six years of education culminating in a primary school certificate. Dropout is often a process with proximate supply (e.g. cultural factors) and demand-side (e.g. financial and religious factors) causes. This study focusses on the effect of language of instruction as a cultural factor that accelerates the dropout process, in furtherance of an earlier study by The Education for All (2011) global monitoring report. The study seeks to; (i) explore teachers’ knowledge on the language of instruction policy for lower primary levels in Ghana and (ii) examine the perception of teachers on the implementation of the policy on language of Instruction. The implications of the outcome will be discussed for educational practice.

Author: Ivy Kesewaa Nkrumah

Published in: Canada International Conference on Education, 2023

  • Date of Conference: 26-28 June, 2023
  • DOI: 10.20533/CICE.2023.0050
  • Electronic ISBN: 978-1-913572-58-7
  • Conference Location: Residence and Conference Centre, Toronto, Canada