I am Michael Okyere Asante, a Ghanaian in my first year of PhD in Ancient Cultures (Classics in some other countries) at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. I have been accepted (with my co-author) to present a poster paper on ‘Teaching Classical Languages in Pre-tertiary Schools in Ghana’ (see pp. 124-5) at the Classical Association Conference, one of the largest gatherings of Classicists in the world, to be held in Leicester, UK from April 6 to 9, 2018.
I also intend to visit the Faculty of Classics at Cambridge on April 11 to familiarise myself with resources in the Faculty and to make an informed decision on taking up a research stay at Cambridge in the second year of my PhD. My contact person at Cambridge is Dr Caroline Vout.
One of the facts of the field of Classics is that Africa is least represented, and the problem is made worse by lack of travel funds to attend Classics conferences abroad. And so, even though I am privileged to be awarded a full bursary by the Classical Association covering accommodation and conference fees, I cannot attend the conference unless I am able to raise funds for a return economy flight ticket (Cape Town-London-Cape Town).
Background to my paper
I discovered that one of the two schools for this study was using Greek and Latin in ways that were totally different from what currently goes on in UK and US schools. The school, which uses a Government-based curriculum, had adopted a vocabulary-based teaching of Greek and Latin and provided a slot on the time table for it. The question I asked was “Why, after three decades, has interest in Greek and Latin surfaced in these two schools and how do they differ in their approaches to teaching the languages given their different curricular?”
Why this poster presentation is important
In the long term, I am looking forward to building on this research to investigate the impact of Greek and Latin learning in these schools on students’ performance in three core subjects: English, Mathematics and Science; and whether a vocabulary-based teaching of Greek and Latin can help improve literacy in these three core areas given the abysmal performances of pupils in these subjects during the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations.
Through my presentation, conference participants will learn of innovative ways in which Classical languages are being put to use in Ghana, especially under a national curriculum and environment that is unreceptive to the initiative. The paper will also provide conference participants the opportunity to understand how Classics is being used in minority areas and to reflect on ways in which Classics can be used to improve literacy among school pupils in Africa.
Return flight (economy) 1,004
Train ticket-London (Heathrow) to Leicester 33
Bus ticket-Leicester to Cambridge 24
Bus ticket-Cambridge to London (Heathrow) 30
Accommodation at Cambridge (3 nights) 79
Total 1, 170
Where will excess money go?
One of the challenges I identified was the lack of Classical language teaching and learning materials in Ghana. Monies in excess of the targeted amount will therefore be used to purchase Classical language teaching and learning resources for the schools.
I would be grateful for any donation you can make towards advancing the Classics in Ghana and Africa by helping me attend this very important conference. Could you also share this with your networks.