The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has said that the acquisition of French as a second language is a major concern of the government of Ghana as it is in line with national priorities.
Ms Botchwey reiterated plans by the government to include the promotion of the learning of the French language in basic schools and across all other levels of learning, as part of a general reform of Ghana’s education sector.
She, however, regretted the inadequate number of French teachers in the country and limited learning and teaching materials and encouraged increased participation and support in this area.
The Foreign Minister was addressing the launch of the 2019 La Francophonie Festival organised by the Francophone Embassies in Ghana and Alliance Française in?Accra on the theme, “Say it in French...please”.
She recalled that last year Ghana signed the Linguistic Pact with La Francophonie for improved technical support and capacity building for teaching and learning of French.
The minister said the move marked the start of a historical process aimed at improving regional integration through development of the French language across the country.
“We believe that teaching and learning French extensively in Ghana will inure to our benefit, since we are bordered by three Francophone countries; Togo, Burkina Faso and La Cote d’Ivoire,” she emphasised.
The Foreign Minister noted that the strong participation in this year’s Francophonie Festival by the government gave credence to the continued desire of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for Ghana, which has been an associate member of La Francophonie since 2006, to become a full member.
She recalled that at the last La Francophonie summit held in Erevan, Armenia in October 2018, President Akufo-Addo made a bold commitment to the organisation.
In his address, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, observed that the celebration of the Francophonie Festival provided a period for reflection over the country’s achievements.
Dr Prempeh was happy about the steps that had been taken to teach pupils the French Language, since the “early bird catches the worm.”
Canadian High Commissioner
The Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mrs Heather Cameron, on behalf of the Francophone ambassadors, commended Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his decision to bring Ghana into La Francophonie as a full member state.
Mrs Cameron pointed out that the week-long celebration was a reminder of La Francophonie's engagement towards peace, democracy, human rights and sustainable development.
The ambassador noted that La Francophonie puts women and the youth at the centre of its actions.
She said La Francophonie represented 300 million French speakers around the world who kept enriching the language on a day-to-day basis through cultural diversity and social interactions.
Activities lined up for the week-long festival included a dictation exercise in French that took place last Monday aimed at testing skills in French.
A popular Quebec comedy on fatherhood and solidarity was also held last Tuesday and a Karaoke in French on Wednesday the following day, showcasing a night of classical and contemporary Francophone music.
A professional workshop has been scheduled for the afternoon of today, where people will be taught how to write curriculum vitae or motivation letter or prepare for an interview in French. There will be a taste of France in the evening and a photo exhibition on Friday.
The climax of activities will be on Saturday, March 23, where the well-known laureate of RFI 2018 Talent of Laughs Award, will crown the Francophonie Week with its humour inspired by current events and irresistible word games.