[lg policy] Nigeria: French Language policy will fail unless...

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Tue Aug 24 14:55:27 UTC 2010

French Language policy will fail unless...
By Segun Olugbile 	
Tuesday, 24 Aug 2010 	

The Director-General, Nigerian French Language Village, Badagry, Prof.
Sam Ale, has reviewed the activities of the village and concluded that
it has not done too badly. Ale also commended the adoption of French
as Nigeria’s second official language, but said that the policy would
fail unless the teaching and learning of the language was encouraged.
Ale, who spoke at a press briefing in Badagry, said that the village
had trained over 40,000 Nigerians since its establishment in 1991 to
provide an effective home-based language immersion programme for
students of French in their penultimate years in Nigerian universities
and colleges of education.

As at the 2009/2010 session, 42 universities and 45 colleges of
education across the country run degree and certificate courses in
French Language. According to him, the adoption of French Language as
the nation’s second official language is a policy that will enhance
the socio-economic and political development of the country. This, he
noted, was because the nation is surrounded by French-speaking
nations, adding that the adoption of the language would widen the
market-ability of Nigerian graduates.

“It will also open more space for international jobs for our people,
while our diplomats could attract plum jobs such as the
secretary-general of the United Nations, World Health Organisations
and the likes,” he said. But for the French Language policy to be
successful, Ale said, those who studied the language should be
encouraged to make use of their knowledge, while more teachers should
be trained. He said due to the advantage being created for holders of
degrees and certificates in French by multinational companies like oil
and gas, telecommuni-cations and the banking industry, the nation’s
school system was finding it difficult to retain French teachers.

“We should encourage those in the teaching profession to stay by
giving them enviable pay and welfare packages, while attractive
packages should be given to the admission seekers to pursue programmes
in French Language. Teachers of French must be encouraged to love and
keep their jobs, ” he said. He added that govern-ment and the
organised private sector should create job opportunities for French
graduates in order to attract Nigerians to undergo a study of the
language. “Let me say this; there is nothing wrong if a popular
newspaper like The Punch has a French Language version of the
newspaper,” he said.

On what the village has been doing to ensure the success of the
policy, Ale said that apart from the constitutional mandate of
providing immersion programme for French students in the nation’s
tertiary institutions, the NFLV also organises Easter/summer French
camps for secondary school pupils. “We have also sent a proposal to
the National Council on Education to allow us to run Master’s degree
programme in the teaching of French as a Foreign language, after
entering into a tripartite agreement with the University of Lagos and
Universite de France Comte Besancon, France,” he said.

He added that the village also organised French for special purposes
for Nigerians. Some of the programmes under this category, he said,
include diploma in French, certificate in French, postgraduate diploma
in bilingual secretaryship, translation and interpretation, as well as
weekend/evening French courses.


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