The School of Languages, at the University of Ghana, Legon, on Tuesday began its third biennial language conference dubbed “SOLCON III” at the Modern Languages Annex on campus.
Themed, ‘Languages, cultures, and literature across barriers: Africa and the world in context and contact’, the conference would have a three-day colloquium panelists to discuss how our languages (indigenous, adopted and even those that we still like foreign ones) through our cultures and literatures.
Addressing the participants at the opening ceremony, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Dean of the School of Languages, said as a school and a centre within the university aspiring to be a ” world-class research-intensive” one, there was the need to create a number of avenues which would permit the presentation of results of on-going and completed research.
Highlighting that, the School of Languages biennial conference series was therefore one of such avenues for reporting on on-going and completed research activities, which provides a space for cross fertilisation of ideas.
She stated that, the conference was to provide an avenue for networking, and identification of potential collaborators.
The Dean expressed optimism that, over the next three days, the conference would have 79 presentations from 10 countries including Niger, Nigeria, Cameroun, South Africa, France, Germany, Australia, China among others.
Prof Amfo reiterated that to put up a highly charged intellectual presentations and discussions at the conference, there was also the need to discuss a topic related to the theme from both intellectual and practitioner’s viewpoints, with the aim of eventually influencing policy.
Recounting the successes of SOLCON since its inception, she cited that the 2015 conference which discussed the contentious topic of language in education, was followed with some fruitful engagements with policy makers afterwards.
Delivering a keynote message, Professor Bassey E. Antia, a professor of Linguistics, University of Western Cape in South Africa, presented a note on Africa and its languages in the global knowledge economy: Imperatives for African higher education’.
According to him, evidence from indicators such as education and skilled population, innovation systems, and information and communication technologies suggests that countries in Africa were not as optimally primed as they should be for the contemporary knowledge economy that sets premium on the production, dissemination, acquisition and local application of specialised knowledge to drive productivity and growth.
Professor Antia added that a model of growth and prosperity required access to and use of information invariably underscores the importance of language in such pillars including education, innovation and technology.
He stressed that there was the need to incorporate local languages into teaching and learning programmes in the universities.
He added Africans must pay attention to language technology because it would go a long way to help improve the economic state of many countries.
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Publish date : 2019-10-25 10:21:14