Children must be taught in a language they understand – Prof. Opoku Agyemang


In the face of an evolving global economy and the challenges confronting Ghanaian graduates in securing jobs, the problem of a critical gap between what the educational system/institutions provide and what the job market demands.

STEM education interrelates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, ensuring that all interrelated contents are taught in coherence instead of in isolation. This promotes collaboration, critical thinking, and active engagement among students.

The current Government has indicated it is committed to revolutionising Ghana’s education sector, with a primary focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

However, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang says this approach alone can not be the solution to the socio-economic problems that Ghana is confronted with.

Responding to a question directed to her at a forum of experts on education in Africa, she said the NDC’s approach will be to introduce a language policy that will ensure that all subjects are taught in ways the children understand.

Believe me, artists need maths and science, musicians need physics. It is at the basis of everything. It is just the way we have taught it as if it is a rarefied subject away from ourselves. Let me use a very practical example, of a child whose mother processes palm oil; from the nuts to the oil, if this is not science, then I don’t know what science is. But you will not find it in the textbook, you will not find it in the lab, and therefore, this education that the child is getting has very little impact. This is just an example but I think that there are many more“.

So it is not about the emphasis on Maths and Science at the detriment of others. We’re talking about entrepreneurship, we’re talking about industrialisation, we need these subjects. But more importantly, is the medium through which the subject is taught“.

In her view, nothing stopped Korea from using their language, by using their language, it didn’t stop them from making the vehicles and the TVs and the phones that Ghanaians import.

Because Koreans were taught in a language they understood education picked up. Because we are teaching our children in a language they can’t even follow, we are drawing them back“.

According to her, the real change is not about reviewing the curriculum or focusing on only primary education, or enacting laws for the sake of political expediency. In her view, it is about relevance. She stressed the need to ensure that children are taught in ways they understand.

I believe that every subject can be taught. If science is taught in a language the child understands and he becomes a tailor, a tailor’s most important instrument is the tape measure, it is a scientific instrument. It is a mathematical instrument also.

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