The government of Uganda has been urged to emphasise the teaching of French language in public schools and if possible incorporated in the curriculum right from primary schools to tertiary institutions.
Stakeholders believe that languages are soft skills that anybody can use despite the profession he or she belongs to. Learning multiple languages challenges the brain and improves cognitive and social-emotional development, learning, and the chances for long-term success.
Some noted that if the government sets up a policy for other foreign languages such as French to be taught in schools, it would help the young people to compete with other countries in the region for job opportunities.
The remarks were made as the Alliance Française Kampala organised the open day French market, an activity which was attended by adults, students and children.
The event was an opportunity to bring together the Uganda and French communities and give a glimpse into the languages and cultural programs. Attendees were treated to a variety of activities throughout the day.
With language being a large element, people enjoyed 30-minute sample classes in French, Luganda and Swahili and were encouraged to sign up for classes that kicked off this week at the Alliance Francaise Kampala and the Uganda National Theatre.
The event which was witnessed by the Nile Post had a long list of children’s activities including storytelling, writing sessions, breakdance, skateboarding, taekwondo and face painting among others. The adults were not left out.
There was a French market where vendors sold crafts, souvenirs, coffee, wines, cheese, bread and pastries.
The Director of Alliance Francaise Kampala, Patrice Gilles told the Nile Post that they have been promoting French language, culture and since it is an international language it is spoken in many continents.
“French is a language of diplomacy. Ugandans will benefit from the French language and I think Ugandans will be better represented in international organizations. At the moment we teach French in several organizations in Uganda, so learning it is very important,” he said.
He urged the government to teach the language in public schools across the country, a move he believes will not only sell the country but promote businesses at an international level.
“The Alliance Francaise Kampala has opened its doors to give you a taste of all the activities we conduct. Sports and cultural activities for kids skateboarding, breakdancing, Taekwondo, storytelling, games and classes for everyone, to learn French first and foremost, the fastest growing language in East Africa and on the African continent, but also Luganda, Kiswahili, Spanish or English.
At least 24 countries in Africa use French as their official language including Rwanda, Burundi, Algeria, Togo, Chad, Mali among others.
Gilles reiterated their commitment to work with all the stakeholders to improve the quality of French language teaching in Uganda.
Mary Goretti Amoding Ducottet, one of the participants and student of the French language said learning the language is important for the development of this country.
Research has shown that there are many benefits in speaking more than one language. It helps people develop a more flexible approach to problem-solving.