Language policy and planning in Ghana : a monolingual ideology, ethos, and discourses in a multilingual society?
This thesis examines language policy and planning in Ghana and how they affect students' learning. It identifies the ideology behind language policy and planning in Ghana, and the discourses that are fashioned to propel them, leading to what I call 'a monolingual ethos'. Underlying the research is the tension between government agendas for nation building and government policy for democracy evident in language policy, planning and practice in the contemporary educational system in Ghana. Raising questions about the role and nature of the ideologies at play in this tension, the study analyses what specific discourses identify these ideologies and how they operate to set up the tensions between government agenda for nation building and government policy for democracy. To illuminate this tension, I draw mainly on Wittgenstein's conceptualisation of 'condensation' and 'anomaly', Bourdieu's articulation of the nature of 'habitus' and resistance, Pennycook's insights on 'talking back', Illich's concepts of care and control, and Phillipson's postulation of linguistic imperialism. The thesis employs a case study of a rural school in the Volta Region to illustrate the systematic inculcation of a monolingual ethos through language policy in the educational system. Contrary to expectations, students are not passive imbibers of the ideologies and discourses driving their education, but find spaces within the policy and its implementation to use the linguistic resources at their disposal for strategic goals, and for knowledge construction and meaning making. I argue that this under-life of students must be brought into the public space of the classroom to empower students and to maximise their construction of knowledge and meaning making. I propose that this can be achieved if the ideological base of language policy and planning in Ghana is repositioned on an additive bilingual/multilingual ideology towards critical and productive knowledge construction and meaning making in the school.