Mother Tongue Usage in Ghanaian Pre-Schools: Perceptions of Parents and Teachers

Vivian Tackie-Ofosu


The present study investigated the perceptions of parents and teachers on the use of the mother tongue and their preferred medium of communication and instruction for preschool children at home and in school. The sample was made up of a cross-section of parents and teachers (N=120, Female=80% for teachers and 55% for parents) of children (between ages 2 and 5) in a suburb of the Greater Accra Region, Ghana. A structured questionnaire was administered to the respondents to elicit information on their perceptions on the use of mother tongue in communicating with the children. The results indicated that both parents and teachers appreciate the importance of the mother tongue, with reasons including the promoting of cultural identity, the easy understanding of concepts and for effective communication. An appreciable number of teachers and parents also support the use of mother tongue as the language of instruction in school alongside English language. The two main arguments against the use of the mother tongue in schools are (1) the importance of English language for future learning and status growth and (2) the paucity of teaching and learning materials in the local languages. Parents support the use of mother tongue at home because it enhances children’s connection to their family, relatives, culture, history and identity. Recommendations made, include the provision of instructional materials and trained teachers in local language usage.

Keywords: Mother tongue education, Medium of instruction, Ghana 

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