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19.01.2005 Diaspora News

Use radio to educate Ghanaians, Nana Otuo

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Morso (Ashanti Region – Gh) – Ghanaian media practitioners, especially radio stations, have been called upon to use their respective outfits to educate the Ghanaian, especially in mastering the official language – English.

Nana Otuo Acheampong, who is the Adontenhene of Morso and also the publisher of the UK-based Ghana Review International magazine, urged the numerous private radio stations in Ghana to emulate the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) model by dedicating segments of their daily broadcasts to educate the Ghanaian.

Nana Otuo was addressing a large gathering of radio enthusiasts and members of the public at Morso in the Asante Akyem district of the Ashanti Region during the inauguration of a Fan Club for Radio Virgin, a newly established district broadcast based in Konongo.

Tracing the recent history of radio stations in Ghana, he said the post Radio Eye era has witnessed what some cynics see as the proliferation of the airwaves with over 125 radio stations now broadcasting to the 18-million population of Ghana. Before 1985, the only legal station was the GBC outfit with its regional appendages. The decision of Charles Wereko Brobby to secure a license for Radio Eye, which resulted in a protracted legal quagmire, opened the floodgate for the establishment of several private radio stations in the country.

Welcoming the new radio stations as a manifestation of the constitutional access to the freedom of expression, Nana Otuo enjoined the radio stations to copy the GBC model, which dedicates segments of the daily broadcasts to the education of the Ghanaian. Citing GBC's daily “Everyday English” segment as a good example to follow, he called on the other stations to do likewise by educating their numerous listeners in mastering the nation's official language – English.

He recalled that at Independence on 6 March 1957, Ghana voluntarily opted for English, albeit a foreign language, as the official language. It is therefore incumbent on all the citizenry to ensure that they master the language. He lamented the new trend of broadcasting all programmes in Ghanaian languages such as Twi or Ga – while there are no written materials readily available in those languages. Using the newspaper review segments as an instance, he doubted the educational element in the programmes for the youth who may be encouraged to tune in for the headlines in Ghanaian languages and be faced with the real newspapers written in English.

While appreciating the national sentiment to know one's own language, he expressed concern over the gradual deterioration in the English language in Ghanaian schools. He made reference to recent reports from the West African Examinations Council, which attested to the gravity of the situation. He commended the recent announcement by the Otumfuo Education Fund to run courses in the English language for teachers in all the districts in the Ashanti Region.

Nana Otuo, who has been a senior lecturer in finance at the University of Portsmouth in the UK since 1990, reminded radio stations that they have an unenviable opportunity to educate the Ghanaian to face the challenges of the global village. As chairman of the Otumfuo Education Fund in the UK, he supervised the donation of ¢100 million for the refurbishment of the Ashanti Regional library last year.

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