Ghana, though an Anglophone and a Commonwealth country, is uniquely tied up to the French language since its birth; more so, the renowned French institution “Alliance Française” which is as old as Ghana since it was instituted the same year the country got its independence stands to justify the aforementioned statement.
By and large, It is worth noting that the French language has been part of our educational system right from the word go and this has afforded some Ghanaians the opportunity to get scholarship from the French government to study in France. Notable among them is Dr Thomas Mensah, the Ghanaian-American fibre optics inventor who at a tender age, developed a fortress-like love for the French language and was given a scholarship to pursue his studies in France; consequently, he has become a force to reckon with amongst the 21st century technologists worldwide as he has been instrumental in the siting and building of the first “Sillicon Valley” of West Africa in Ghana.
Even so, the language has relatively gained less attention over the period as it was made an optional subject in the Pre-Tertiary education curricula.
However, the objective-based curriculum review which birthed the new Standard-based Curriculum (SBC) has substantially given a befitting place to the French language, linking it to one of the six core Competencies the SBC sought to project, which is “cultural identity and global citizenship”. Having participated in the national cascading as a certified Master Trainer by the Ministry of Education on the ticket of the Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS), myself together with my colleague French Master Trainers have trained over one thousand French Teachers across the length and breadth of the country. The French language has therefore been made a compulsory subject right from basic four; and one of the interesting attributes of the new pedagogy is to lay emphasis on the oral aspect during the teaching period, since the students don’t get the opportunity to speak the language outside the classrooms. To make the teaching and learning of the French language more communicative, the new SBC entreats the French facilitators to treat every sub-strand for two (2) weeks, taking into account the four (4) content standards which are “comprehension orale, production orale, compréhension écrite, production écrite”.
Though the SBC implementation came into force barely a month ago, the new methodology and creative pedagogies the newly trained French facilitators are using as enshrined in the SBC, promise to be effective as our follow up indicates positive results and we see kids passionately dialoguing in French to our admiration. The world is fast becoming a global village and every effort that aims at making Ghanaians global citizens should be encouraged to create opportunities for the upcoming generation at the global arena in the economic, socio-cultural and diplomatic sectors.
Paradoxically, there seems to be a sharp contrast between the Ministry of Education’s decision of making French a mandatory subject across board as against the crucial deficiency in the number of French teachers available and the limited or inadequate teaching and learning resources to sufficiently implement this all-important policy. To this end, the question to what extent can the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service continue to improvise amidst this scarcity remain unanswered.
Meanwhile, Ghana remains a staunch member of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF); an international body that brings together all French-speaking countries worldwide. The country might even be moving from Associate Member to becoming a full Member State by the end of the year 2020 at the 18th OIF summit which will be held in Tunisia in commemoration of its 50th anniversary since its formation as hinted by H.E Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana during the 17th Summit held in Armenia in 2018.
Emmanuel Amegavi Sosu
President, Français Pour Tous Au Ghana (French For All In Ghana).