Ideologies of English and language of instruction in Ghana: Educator perceptions and pressures

Erling, Elizabeth J.; Mukherjee, Sarah Jane; Safford, Kimberly and Tugli, Fritz Makafui (2024). Ideologies of English and language of instruction in Ghana: Educator perceptions and pressures. In: Reilly, Colin; Chimbutane, Feliciano; Clegg, John; Rubagumya, Casmir and Erling, Elizabeth J. eds. Multilingual Learning: Assessment, Ideologies and Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Routledge Series in Language and Content Integrated Teaching & Plurilingual Education. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 99–122.



This chapter explores why local languages are not always used as languages of education at the lower primary level in Ghanaian schools, despite language-in-education policies that require this and long-standing evidence on the benefits of local languages for learning. It shows how ideologies of English as a language for international development (ELFID), which privilege the use of the language for education, employment and other aspects of opportunity, hold sway in the implementation of policy. Analysis of interviews with 25 participants (teachers, head teachers and education officials) illustrates that English is privileged because of the demand for the language in school assessment, further education and employment. Furthermore, participants describe others' perceptions of the low status of Ghanaian language classes and language teachers. At the same time, participants note that a sole focus on English results in a loss of children's cultural and linguistic identities and practices. Interview data are analysed and discussed in light of key assumptions of the concept of ELFID.

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