Ghanaians engage their West African neighbors in economic, political and cultural transactions which foster the integration of the sub region. However, a major challenge for its success remains the use of French language. This reality has long been identified by both the Ghanaian government and the French Embassy, who have therefore placed emphasis on the teaching and learning of the French language in the education system and the public service. This was also mentioned by the President of the Republic of Ghana, HE Nana Akufo-Addo, who declared at a conference in Lomé last May, that it was “absolutely essential that the learning of French language intensifies in Ghana”, as this will enable the Ghanaian populations “to survive in the ECOWAS environment”.
High level meeting related to learning of French in Ghana
The cooperation between our two countries has been translated in concrete terms into a number of projects over the years. In the latest one, formalized in June 2016 with a budget of 700,000 euros, the main purposes are to develop and improve the teaching of the French language to meet the needs of learners in key institutional sectors such as the secondary level of education, the Universities (scientific and technical fields) and the Public Service. Honorable Minister Matthew Opoku Prempeh and His Excellency François Pujolas, Ambassador of France, met last Thursday to discuss the progress of the ongoing project and the way forward. So far, 380 SHS teachers have been trained to use a new French textbook and more modern ways of teaching so as to motivate their students, while teachers at the University and in the Public service were trained to include professional content to meet the needs of their trainees.
Seminars on the status of French within the various institutions, the review of syllabus and the creation of adequate teaching and learning resources as well as pedagogical training in Francophone countries are also organized. In addition, several institutions (54 schools, 6 universities and 7 institutions) are being equipped with IT material such as computers, self-learning software, video projectors, satellite dish, etc. to enable students improve their skills during or after classes. From now till 2018, many more teachers will be trained on teaching methodology, relevant teaching material, IT resources and assessment issues.
The way forward for better regional integration
The French Embassy is very positive on the government’s vision to popularize French among the Ghanaian society, to introduce it from the primary level of education and to consolidate it at the JHS and SHS levels. In its realization, we take into consideration the requests expressed by the Ministry of Education regarding the review of curricula at different levels, the training of more teachers through the Colleges of Education, and the integration of IT in the process of teaching and learning. The French Embassy is therefore going to submit requests for additional funding to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile, we encourage Ghana to continue strengthening its ties with the International Organization of Francophonie, to also benefit from their expertise and support alongside ours.
As the French Ambassador in Ghana, HE François Pujolas said, “the practice of the French language is Ghana’s best regional integration tool and it’s also one of the best ways for economic development as a facilitator of dialogue, negotiations, and harmonization with its neighbors. It is the key element that will enable Ghana to expand its labor market and we are very pleased to help in the realization of this outcome. “