By Felix A. Baidoo, Lome-Togo
The Government through the Education Ministry would from next academic year distribute French textbooks to all the 50 bilingual schools in the country.
A total of 2000 students in the 50 schools nationwide serving as bilingual pilot schools are expected to benefit from the textbook distribution exercise.
The Deputy Minister for Education, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, who announced this said the distribution of the books was aimed at promoting reading, writing and fluency in the speaking of French among Ghanaian students.
“Under the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects (FSPI), the Ministry of Education will soon distribute French textbooks to learners from Basic one to Basic 9”. He said.
Rev. Ntim Fordjour announced this at the official opening of the four-day 64th annual conference of the Ghana Association of French Teachers (GAFT) held in Lome, Togo on Thursday.
The conference which had the theme: “Transformation agenda through education: French language, source of employability and development?” brought together 125 French Teachers from all levels of education in Ghana to the conference.
The participants took part in workshops, were taken through effective French teaching and learning methods as well as used the conference to interact effectively with their counterparts from Togo and Benin.
Again, the Deputy Minister hinted that Primary 4, 5 and 6 pupils nationwide would also benefit from the distribution of the textbooks after those in the pilot schools have been served by next year.
“Efforts are far advanced for the introduction of a Non-General Arts Senior High School (SHS) French programme. This is what we call Non-Specialist SHS Curriculum, designed for Senior High students offering programmes such as General Science, Business, Home Economics, Visual Arts, etc. This will afford this category of our students to learn French in their specific field of study, mostly referred to as French for Specific Purposes”. Rev. Ntim Fordjour said.
Benefits in French-speaking
The Deputy Minister who is also the Member of Parliament for Assin South indicated that the French language opened doors for bilateral and multilateral cooperation among nations and their people and stated that Ghana, as a nation was ready for people-centred cooperation.
He explained further that the understanding of the French language in the country could boost trade in the country since it was an international language needed in cooking, fashion, theatre, tourism, sports, the visual arts, dance and architecture and above all diplomacy.
The Deputy Minister mentioned the issue of security in the sub-region which needed language to enhance interaction among the security services to promote security and intelligence information sharing which will not be possible if there are communication barriers between them.
“We need to build the capacity of our men and women to enable them to work in a language barrier-free environment for proper full sub-regional integration”. He said.
The President’s vision
Rev. Ntim Fordjour reaffirmed the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo’s commitment to the promotion of bilateral relations among nations towards national development and pledged to make Ghana a bilingual nation.
“This call is being re-echoed today everywhere in the world. Many countries are joining other mother organizations outside of their traditional territories, purposefully to get closer to the institutions of these countries: English-speaking countries are joining French-speaking countries and vice versa”. He noted.
He stated that “These initiatives are geared towards breaking the linguistic barriers. This movement in the opposite direction can only be significant if there is a real linguistic policy and above all the willingness on the part of the countries to set up a programme of exchange of field experiences and challenged the leadership of the GAFT and its affiliates to consider coming out with a joint proposal that can bring into fruition this project.
The President of GAFT, Mr Tchitchi Kondo-Ayiga praised the government and the Education Ministry and all other stakeholders who contributed in diverse ways to the successful organization of the conference.
He pledged the support of the members to show more commitment toward the development of the French language among Ghanaian students and Ghanaians in general.