• Monday, April 22, 2024
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France commits to supporting French language in Lagos public schools

French Minister in Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos State, the bustling metropolis known for its vibrant diversity, is set to embark on a linguistic revolution with the signing of a letter of intent to promote the teaching of the French language in public schools. With this, Lagos could be on track to unlocking a world of opportunities and cultural exchange, fostering bilingualism and expanding horizons for its students.

The letter of intent which was signed by Emmanuelle Blatmann, Ambassador of France to Nigeria last week, marks the renewal of cooperation and support for the promotion of the French language in public schools.

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, French Minister of State for development, francophonie and international partnerships, said after signing of the letter of intent that, “French is a language of culture, but also a language of business and opportunities for all those who learn it. Our language creates links between populations of 88 countries across the world. It is amazing to see the demand for learning French in Nigeria.”

The cooperation between Lagos State and the French Embassy is long-standing and fruitful, and the Government of Lagos State has regularly expressed interest in promoting the teaching of French language. The signing of the letter of intent not only reconfirms the past commitments but also to mark the official launch of an ambitious program to modernise the teaching and learning of French in public secondary schools in Lagos.

The foundations of the educational and linguistic cooperation are now laid with the appointment of a French technical expert who will be positioned within the Ministry of Education of Lagos State as French language advisor. The expert will advise the Ministry on improving teacher training while overseeing an innovative project in 10 public pilot schools.

For several years, the cooperation for the promotion of teaching and learning French has taken a number of different forms. Examples of such forms is the Alliance Française-Mike Adenuga Centre, which is a local non-profit organisation, seen as the flagship of the Alliances

Françaises’ worldwide network. The cultural centre acclaimed by Nigerians is also a linguistic centre for adults wishing to learn French, and prepare for official French certifications.

In 2022, a total of 2,042 trainees both children and adults obtained the Diplôme d’études en langue française (DELF), an internationally recognized diploma that provides access to academic or professional opportunities in French-speaking countries. It should be noted that the branch of Alliance Française Lagos in Ikeja has been hosted by the Lagos State Ministry of Education since 2006, which has allowed more Lagosians to be exposed to the French language and to the francophone cultures.

Read also: French tech community launched in Lagos

Another example of the cooperation between France and Nigeria is the Lycée français Louis Pasteur of Lagos. The school welcomes students of all nationalities and makes this cultural diversity bear fruit through an innovative pedagogy and a spirit of openness, with particular emphasis on language learning. By cultivating intercultural communication and understanding, the Lycée français forges lasting affinities between these students and France.

This project could also scale-up French’s position as a language of communication by providing modern educational resources and by creating French radio and podcasts programs. All this will allow for more regular practice of oral skills, and better preparation for DELF exams.