Wife of the Asantehene, Lady Julia Osei-Tutu, has urged parents and guardians to introduce additional languages to their children at the early stages of their lives.
According her, parents must not allow other foreign languages to overcome the local languages even as they train their children to become multi-lingual.
Lady Julia, speaking at the launch of the 12th edition of the Spelling B Competition in Kumasi said encouraging the learning of different languages amongst children helps to stimulate and develop their minds.
She argued that, scientific studies have shown that children who speak different languages are able to make more friends from different locations and communities, with greater opportunity to develop.
She urged parents not to shy away from introducing both the local language and foreign languages in the early stages of children’s development.
“As parents, the decision as to whether your child should or should not be introduced to a certain language can be a daunting one, in that many questions come into play in trying to navigate our children to early childhood development, hoping to make the best decision,” the wife of the Asante King noted.
“This is something that we should all fight against. Both languages, the local and the foreign language, should go hand in hand and should be introduced as early as possible,” she said.
Lady Julia commended 12-year-old Shifa Amankwa-Gabbey, reigning Ghanaian Spelling Bee champion, for making Ghana and the Ashanti Region proud.
The Spelling Bee competition is organized every year to groom children in schools across the country in reading and improving their literacy.
This year’s competition is under the theme:” Multilingualism: a sine qua non for improving literacy in Children,”
Country Director of Young Education Foundation, Mrs. Eugenia Tachie-Menson, said the program will target more Ghanaian school children despite the challenge organizers go through to organize the event.
“I would ask and plead with parents and educators here that it may be fancy to be seen speaking English with your child, but we are eroding our culture. We look ridiculous when we stand in front of non-Ghanaians and say that my first language is English, when they are not English”, she indicated.
Mrs. Tachie-Menson expressed worry over the difficulty in accessing children for the Spelling Bee in Ashanti Region.
According to her, some schools have continuously turned down a request from the foundation and said that their students cannot partake in the exercise because they are focusing on their studies, no matter how much they try to convince the stakeholders.
She indicated that Spelling Bee should not be limited to the club level, where those who wish to participate have to join, stressing that every child must be exposed to it.
The Director thanked Lady Julia Osei-Tutu and the Otumfuo Education Fund for hosting the launch, which is the first time in Kumasi.
She also thanked heads of schools and teachers for their commitment, and noted that multilingual figures are of good standing in society, citing personalities like Lady Julia Osei Tutu II, President Akufo-Addo, Shifa Amankwa-Gabbey, and the late Busumuru Kofi Annan, as examples.
By: Hafiz Tijani/citinewsroom.com/Ghana