The Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, has called for the adoption of the mother tongue as a medium of teaching in schools.
He said studies had shown that “when children are taught in their mother tongue, they assimilate things and perform better than when a foreign language is used to teach them.”
According to him, examples abound from countries that had developed by using the mother tongue as a medium of instruction in school.
Mr Ayeboafoh said this last Tuesday when he chaired the third annual debate competition for Class Six pupils of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Primary School in Kumasi.
While commending the management of the school for coming up with such an activity to prick the reasoning ability of the pupils, he said he would have been happier if the children had been made to debate in the local language.
He said aside from sharpening their grasp of the local language, it would also enable them to break down the concept into their mother tongue for easy understanding, explaining that “language is to express and not to impress.”
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He advised the pupils to use the experience gained to shape their life and contribute to their personal development.
In his welcome address, the Deputy Headmaster of the KNUST Primary School, Mr Napoleon De Graft Etison, said the debate was instituted three years ago to enable the pupils to improve on their critical thinking and communication skills.
Aside from that, he said the competition was also to enable the pupils to be cogent in their arguments and become confident through public speaking.
The Head of the English Department of the KNUST, Dr Peter Arthur, also shared the concern raised by the chairman of the NMC on the need to have the children taught in their native language, since most people were more comfortable in their mother tongue than the foreign language.
He commended the school for introducing the children to debating at a tender age, saying that would help them to grow to become responsible adults.
The debate was on the topic: “Extra classes contribute to the effective learning of a child” and was won by the team that spoke against the motion.
They scored 213 points as against 197 points by those who were for the motion.
Master Solomon Sulley-Shittu was adjudged the best debater at the end of the competition.