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General News of Friday, 12 October 2018


‘We want to make Ghana a bilingual state’ – Nana Addo

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President Akufo-Addo has indicated that the goal of government is to make the country a bilingual state, that is, embracing both English and French as its official languages.

He indicated that the government has introduced a bilingual classroom project at the basic education level, where certain subjects are taught in both English and French, and the study of French is being made compulsory at the basic level of Ghana’s educational system.
According to him, the government is looking at ways to strengthen Ghana’s co-operation with la Francophonie.

The president made this known at the 17th Summit of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie in Armenia on Friday, 12th October, 2018.

“Our goal is to live, one day, in a bilingual Ghana, i.e. English and French, together with our own indigenous languages. We have already begun to work towards this. On 15th May, 2018, I authorized the signature of a language pact with La Francophonie, towards helping to make this a reality,” he said.

Akufo-Addo said Ghana, which is finds herself between three francophone countries and the Atlantic Ocean, has the lives of its citizens intimately linked to that of the francophone world, noting that Ghana’s membership of La Francophonie should serve as a big boost to addressing some of the country’s mutual concerns.

“As a country bordered to the north, east and west by French-speaking countries, and to the south by the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana recognises the strategic importance of her immediate neighbours, to whom we are bound by profound ties of blood, geography and history, and, indeed, of all French speaking countries, to the development of our country,” he said.

He added that after leading Ghana as the then Foreign Affairs Minister in 2006 to become an associate member of la Francophonie, he believes Ghana is determined to transition from an Associate Member of la Francophonie to a Full Member.

“Ghana, an anglophone nation, is only one of a handful of countries that enjoy membership of both the Commonwealth and La Francophonie, and we value this situation very much…That is why we are determined to strengthen the bonds of friendship and co-operation with la Francophonie, by transitioning from an Associate Member to a Full Member.”

While advocating for increased trade and investment among member countries, Akufo-Addo said with the help of digital technology, la francophonie can assist to create more jobs for the country’s youth.

“History tells us that this is the best route to general progress and prosperity. With the help of digital technology, we can then accelerate economic growth, create the much-needed jobs for our youth, and take advantage of the vast potential of Africa’s young population,” he indicated.

Akufo-Addo added that, “I am an unrepentant optimist, and I am confident that we can work together to build such a new world, with member states of La Francophonie taking the lead.”

French as a second language in Ghana

In February 2017, the Minister for Education, Matthew Opoku-Prempeh pledged government’s commitment to make French at the basic level education compulsory.

He explained that it was the government’s vision to promote the learning and speaking of French and also to equip French Teacher Trainees to be abreast with modern French language modules.

Dr Prempeh said his during a meeting with a delegation from the French Embassy in Accra who paid a courtesy call on him.

“There was the need to redefine the country’s relations with the French government to promote the speaking and learning of French at the tender age,” he said.

In May 2018, he reiterated his stance, saying that it was in Ghana’s interest to pursue the teaching and learning of French to enable the country to benefit more from the West African sub-region.

The Minister made the statement at a ceremony in Paris, France, where a linguistic pact was signed between Ghana and the International Organisation de la Francophonie for improved technical support and capacity building for the teaching and learning of French in Ghana.

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