Fluency in English Language not a measure of intelligence – UNESCO Expert


Dr Benjamin Oduro Arhin, the National Expert for the UNESCO-ASCHBERG Programme for players in the Creative Arts Industry, has described as ‘unfortunate’ the measuring of fluency in English Language to one’s intelligence in Ghana.

He indicated that though English Language was often considered a valuable skill, it was important to note that it did not equate to intelligence as it pertained.

Whilst being able to communicate effectively in English could open opportunities and facilitate interactions, he said one’s level of intelligence should not be judged solely based on English expression abilities.

To him, intelligence was a complex trait that encompasses various factors such as problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creativity and emotional intelligence.

Dr Arhin was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a two-day training programme for professionals in the Creative Arts Industry in Cape Coast, the Central Regional Capital.

He said the importance of promoting and pre
serving local languages in Ghana must be highlighted, ensuring that the country’s rich cultural heritage was preserved for future generations.

Promoting the English Language against local languages to him, was linguistics imperialism which could lead to the marginalisation of indigenous languages and cultures.

‘The lack of support for local languages can lead to their decline or even extinction, resulting in the loss of cultural knowledge and heritage,’ he cautioned, adding that it could result in the loss of valuable knowledge and traditions and potentially hinder the country’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

‘Therefore, it is essential to recognise that fluency in English is just one aspect of a person’s overall intelligence and should not be used as the sole measure of their cognitive abilities as portrayed in the Ghanaian setting,’ he explained.

In the same vein, he urged Ghanaians and the media to reflect on the values and uniqueness of local languages and their exclusive use in the media
space to highlight the importance of Ghanaian languages.

Dr Arhin said the indigenous languages could not be appreciated if they were continuously downplayed, hence the need for the media to ensure the appropriate use of local languages.

‘People take comfort and learn a lot from the media, so I will call on the media to promote our local languages

‘We should consider the things we show, the things we say and ensure they are appropriate, proper, good and have some traditional knowledge and are fit and acceptable in our society,’ he said.

Dr Arhin urged Ghanaians to speak their mother language, practise their culture and inculcate them into their children to help shape their behaviour and character.

‘Learning the mother language helps one’s cognitive skills and communication skills.

‘It broadens your knowledge, your mind, makes you look wider, learn substance and tend to appreciate your culture and appreciate things around you and your environment,’ he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency