It has been reported that NDC Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah announced, while interacting with the Muslim community at Nsawam Zongo, stated that Arabic would become a compulsory subject from 2017 for senior high schools students.
“President Mahama has agreed that from 2017 Senior High School students will study Arabic like they do in the English language and we will introduce it at the basic level in 2018 and make it examinable.”
Debrah also reiterated calls for the Muslim community in particular to vote massively for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its candidates. Evidently this initiative was constructed as an attempt to garner support from the Muslim community for the NDC in the upcoming elections.
However, the reports that Debrah said Arabic was going to be made compulsory in schools in 2017 have now been denied by the government, replacing this policy with an agreement to introduce Arabic in senior high schools in 2017 and then in basic schools in 2018.
Deputy Minister of Culture and Creative Arts, Dzifa Gomashie has described new policy as a non-issue.
Responding to a question asked by Pulse Ghana’s Alice Adu about how this policy can be justified especially because there is a literacy deficit of indigenous languages among school children in the country, the minister said there “cannot [be] excuses for our children.”
“There are some languages in Ghana that crosses the borders, so if Arabic or Ewe crosses the border and that child wants to learn it, please lets us support that course”, she reiterated.
A 2014 ‘Early Grade Reading Assessment’ report found that 98% of pupils in primary two can neither read nor understand English or any Ghanaian language properly.