Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What's up with the Bureau of Ghana Languages?

In the previous entry, I inserted a quote (from an article about International Mother Language Day in Ghana) about books being locked up in the warehouses of the Bureau of Ghana Languages (BGL). Actually the point of that was that the supply is there, but that somehow the demand is not connecting with it - so the books remain, presumably, boxed and stacked, in storage.

Another article from Ghana on IMLD (Accra Daily Mail, "Any hope for local Ghanaian languages ... As thousands of others worldwide face extinction?" 26 Feb 08) mentions the BGL in a way that raises another issue:

The Bureau of Ghana Languages is poorly resourced and exists all but in name. The sorry and dying state of the Bureau is a reflection of where Ghana's local languages are heading.

So, what's happening? BGL is producing materials that are evidently not flying off the shelves, and it is apparently underfunded and giving the impression - at least to the author of one article - of being moribund. I'm curious to hear any more about the situation.

At the same time I recently looked again at the website of another institution in Ghana, the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT / Advanced Information Technology Institute. It has international attention and partnerships, adequate funding, and an apparent dynamism.
I presume that's a reflection, at least in part, of Ghanaian government and foreign donor priorities. BGL may not be able to command the same attention, but what about some sort of partnerships? KACE/AITI is apparently looking at some localization, and BGL presumably has the language expertise. BGL might do well to expand its perspectives beyond traditional printing, and KACE/AITI has expertise in ICT - the direction in which content development in all languages is going.

Anyway these are some questions and thoughts. Institutions and agencies like BGL in various African countries often struggle with little in the way of funding, technology, official support, and connection with their ultimate consumers / audience. It's probably time to look systematically at what their status is and ways to support their growth and success.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please visit these two websites. (To be launched this Friday, 13 June 2008.)

Kwame the webmaster.