Mrs Catherine Agyapomaa Appiah-Pinkrah, Director Pre-Tertiary, Ministry of Education, has said that for Ghana to develop as expected, it is important to encourage and promote the study of languages.

She said languages play a very important role in the development of every nation, hence the need for it to be encouraged and studied in all tertiary institutions.

She made this observation at the 7th graduation ceremony of the Ghana Institute of Languages (GIL).
The event was held under the theme: “The role of GIL in training language professionals for the job market”.

A total of 64 students graduated from the institute, 42 of which graduated from the School of Bilingual Secretaryship, while 22 graduated from the School of Translators. In terms of nationality, about 42 graduates were Ghanaians; 3 are Togolese; 2 each are Beninese, Gabonese and Ivorians; with 1 Senegalese and 1 Equatorial Guinean.

Mrs Appiah –Pinkrah said the Ministry is going through a series of transformation and languages are one of the key areas that were being considered.

She said “we live in a global world and its important not only to learn the national language or mother tongue, but also to learn other foreign languages to facilitate communication”.

“We are rolling out a new curriculum that also has a touch of the study of languages and as you also heard, three key institutions are coming together, the Ghana Institute of Journalism, NAFTI, and GIL so that in the near future journalism students will have authority over languages.”

“We trade, we school, we do almost everything around the world and it has to do with languages and it is timely that now, the Ministry has placed it within the reform agenda to ensure that languages play a key role,” she said.

Dr Emmanuel Kobena Kuto, Director of the Institute, said Ghanaians need to learn foreign languages, not just to enhance their employment prospects but also to make them better people.

“Every language represents a different culture, way of life and world view. Every additional language we learn makes us more knowledgeable, open, cosmopolitan, tolerant and powerful. A language learned is akin to money in the pocket.”

He said many young people are unemployed or poorly employed and very few are taking advantage of the opportunity to train as language professionals.

Dr Kuto said when the Institute was established in 1961, its mandate was to train language professionals for public service especially foreign missions but currently the dynamics of geopolitics have shifted dramatically and global trade was the order of the day.

These interactions require well trained and competent language professionals, translators, interpreter, and language teachers as mediators and facilitators.

This translates to good high paying jobs for the youth, he said.

Dr Kuto called stakeholder of the education sector to prioritize language learning by helping and encouraging the youth to learn languages, thus parents must encourage their wards and language teachers must change their attitude and approach to make language learning a pleasant experience for students.

He said the Institute is ready and willing to play a pivotal role in this trajectory of language consciousness and urged the graduates to pursue excellence in their work.

Mrs Priscilla Boadi, Scholarship Secretariat, said it is gratifying to see students exhibit commitment to the acquisition of knowledge as far as language is concerned not only as a means of securing their future well-being but also to empower themselves to contribute their quota to national development.

The students of these prestigious professions such as languages need to come to terms with the fact their chosen professions are not only avenues for personal gain, but rather, a call to serve mankind with dignity and selflessness.


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