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National Language Policy Will Set Ground For Promotion Of Mother’s Tongue

By Yunus S Saliu

The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), an institution cabinet designated as the National Structure for National Languages to work with the Academy of African Languages of the African Union (ACALAN) towards the elaboration of a National Languages Policy in The Gambia was on Thursday, 30th August held a daylong symposium attended by scores of relevant stakeholders to discuss the proposed national language policy and language development.

At the forum, one of the expert speakers, Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) focused on the elaboration of a policy and explained what is a national language policy.

Mr. Hassoum Ceesay, who is also an erudite historian described it as a document that signposts, demarcates, directs, and facilitates the role of National Languages in all activities geared towards ‘National Development. Policy directs. Policy facilitates. Policy Evaluates.’

“A National Language Policy therefore sets the ground for the use and promotion of our mother tongues. The policy will set the rules for the protection and nourishment of our National Languages,” he noted.

He justified this saying English was a mere cog in the full wheel of actively used languages for everyday intercommunity communication and “Sadly, nothing concrete was done to support or promote any of the National Languages to become a vehicle for art, science and technology.”

Indeed, if there was any attempt at language planning, according to him, it was done to see how some languages could be taught at the school level. Of course, good enough but completely inadequate for the full protection and promotion of National Languages.

Mr. Ceesay outlined the aim of the policy saying the Policy should focus on promoting, preserving, and valorizing all Gambian National Languages as tools for political, economic, and social progress, and national cohesion, sub-regional cooperation, and growth.

In realizing this not an easy task of National Language Policy, everyone would be carried along including Traditional Chiefs and Alkalos, Ngansimba, Gewels, Educationists, Teachers, Health and traditional healers, Civil Servants, Media and press, Women groups Festival organizers, National Language Focal Points, Language experts, Linguists and National languages Teachers, Universities

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Yunus S Saliu

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