Crucial Conversations: GaDangme Language’s Future Explored at Forum

Report on Gadalan Survey Forum Held at Rev. Dagadu Methodist Church-Osu on Saturday, September 16th, 2023

In Reference to the Gadalan Initiative

In a resounding display of commitment to the GaDangme language and culture, the Gadalan Survey Forum took center stage at the Rev. Dagadu Methodist Church in Osu on Saturday, September 16th, 2023. This significant event followed the publication of our recent article titled “Gadalan: Spearheading the Revival of Gadangme Language in the GaDangme-Speaking Region”. The forum delved deeper into the challenges highlighted in the earlier article, addressing the alarming decline in the teaching of the Gadangme language within the Greater-Accra Region.

Recap of the Gadalan Initiative:

As previously reported, Gadalan is a dedicated endeavor supported by GaDangme EuropaVZW, with a profound mission to breathe new life into the GaDangme language in the Greater Accra and Eastern regions. It brings together key organizations such as the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs and the GaDangme Council to champion this linguistic and cultural resurgence.

Research Findings Echoed:

Building upon the earlier article’s findings, the Gadalan Survey Forum provided a platform to delve further into the challenges faced in preserving the GaDangme language:

  1. Shortage of GaDangme Teachers: The persistent shortage of qualified GaDangme language educators in schools was a focal point of discussion.
  2. Resistance Among Native Speakers: The forum addressed the resistance among native Ga speakers who, despite being native speakers of GaDangme, resist learning the language.
  3. Teacher Assignment Preferences: Participants highlighted the tendency of teachers assigned to teach Gadangme to opt for other subjects.
  4. Geographic Displacement: The displacement of many GaDangme graduate teachers, who find themselves posted outside the Greater-Accra Region, was a concern.
  5. Lack of Motivation: The forum sought solutions for the lack of motivation hindering students interested in learning GaDangme.
  6. Scarcity of Textbooks: The scarcity of GaDangme language textbooks was acknowledged as a critical issue.
  7. Parental Engagement: The lack of parental support in providing GaDangme textbooks to children or wards was discussed.
  8. Educator Interference: The interference of headteachers and other teachers in GaDangme language classes was a point of contention.

Panel Discussion and Insights:

The panel discussion echoed and expanded upon the insights from the earlier article:

  • GES Representative’s View: The GES representative reiterated the availability of a portal for teacher applications and the language policy directive mandating the teaching of the prominent language in lower primary classes.
  • Retaining Ga Teachers: Plans to retain Ga teachers in Accra and transfer those outside the region back to Accra were reinforced.
  • Encouraging Language Learning: The importance of encouraging non-native speakers to learn Gadangme was emphasized, along with the need to sustain the Ga Quiz program.
  • University of Education, Winneba: Efforts to promote GaDangme language courses at the university, including outreach programs and advertising, were further discussed.
  • Mr. Sarpei’s Insights: Mr. Sarpei elaborated on the depth of language learning and advocated for enforcing the language policy in primary schools.

Question and Answer Session and Critical Concerns:

The Q&A session allowed for the discussion of critical concerns raised by participants:

  • The need to address teachers’ reluctance to teach Gadangme due to perceived language difficulties.
  • Requests to post Gadangme graduates to teach in Accra and the importance of monitoring their assignments.
  • Advocacy for increased support for Ga language teachers.
  • Efforts to lobby for GaDangme teachers’ promotion to head schools.
  • Clarification on the legal authority of school heads to stop the teaching of the language.

Naa Adoley Dodoo’s Contribution and the Call for Unity:

Naa Adoley Dodoo, a holder of a Master’s degree in the Ga language, reiterated the availability of GaDangme textbooks produced under the NALAP and USID programs and called for unity and collaboration to promote the language.

Closing Remarks and Ongoing Commitment:

In his closing remarks, Hon. J. Ayikoi Otoo, President, and Chair for the occasion, expressed gratitude to the organizers and emphasized the importance of unity in advocating for the GaDangme language’s preservation. He pledged to resort to legal action when necessary to protect the rights of Ga speakers.

The Gadalan Survey Forum built upon the foundation laid by our previous article and served as a vital platform for addressing the challenges faced in the preservation of the GaDangme language. It reinforced the importance of collaboration, policy adherence, and the dedication of educators and community leaders in safeguarding this invaluable linguistic and cultural heritage.

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