The Embassy of France in Uganda has Friday September 18 signed a 40,155 euros Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Alliance Française de Kampala to support various programs and activities aimed at improving the quality, reach and diversity of the French language courses it offers in Uganda.
H.E Jules-Armand Aniambossou, Ambassador of France to Uganda, signed the agreement on behalf of the Embassy while Ms. Magaly Losange, Course Director at Alliance Française, signed on behalf of the French language and cultural institution.
Speaking at the event, Aniambossou said, “the Embassy of France has made education, culture, French language and Francophonie its top priority and is working closely with the Ministry of Education and all the stakeholders to improve the place of French in the country, as a professional language of communication, education and culture for the youth, students, decision-makers, entrepreneurs, artists and sports fraternity.”
The Ambassador called upon Ugandans to embrace the project and work together with the French Embassy so as to achieve the desired goal in strengthening Ugandan ties with Francophone countries in the World.
With over 300 million speakers worldwide, majority (59% in 2018) being in Africa and aged below 30 years, French, the 5th most spoken language in the world, is no longer a property of France but a global language.
In Uganda alone French is the second most taught foreign language. Currently, there are about 7,000 learners of French at primary, secondary and tertiary institutions of learning, with some 405 teachers all over the country.
Besides creating a link between French/Francophone and Ugandan cultures, Alliance Française enrols more than 1,000 students per year to learn French, alongside English, Spanish, Kiswahili and Luganda, in the spirit of multilingualism.
Mr. Aniambossou emphasized the importance for all the stakeholders to work together in order to effectively respond to the needs of the learners and that of the Ministry of Education in terms of French language teaching in Uganda.
The high-level event was graced by the two recently appointed French language Ambassadors in Uganda, Irene Namubiru and Suzan Kerunen, Victoria Bakurumpagi, teacher of French at Kyambogo University, Patrick Bugingu from Makerere University Business School (MUBS),Maria-Gorretti Adubo from Kabale University, Marie-Rose Berocan, Vice President of APFO and Mr. Thomas Mbussa, Director of Bonjour Kampala web radio among others.
Alliance Française Kampala intends to use this grant to upgrade the level of teachers of French and professionals in the French language sector and train teachers of professional French in Uganda, through purchase of teaching resources, DELF/DALF proficiency certifications, continuous annual scholarships in the French as a Foreign Language Master’s distance program, and capacity building workshops.
Alliance Française will also acquire relevant French language teaching resources and expand the Institution’s reach by creating branches in Jinja, Mbarara and Entebbe among others.
In addition, it will create and develop relevant French courses for the sectors identified (tourism, hotel and hospitality, military, diplomacy, humanitarian) through creating specific curricula, course animation and new diplomas; and, finally, support initiatives aimed at enhancing the employability of speakers of French in Uganda.
Ms. Magaly Losange, Ag. Director of Alliance Française revealed that tailor-made French lessons will soon begin for journalists and tour guides under a scholarship program supported by the Embassy of France.
Within the perspective of relaunching French in Uganda, the Embassy of France has recently signed a similar MoU with Bonjour Kampala francophone web radio and will be supporting more stakeholders, including the Association of Teachers of French in Uganda (APFPO), National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) and Universities among others.
Singer Irene Namubiru said that due to the fact that French is the only language alongside English which is commonly spoken in all the continents which also doubles as an official language for over 32 States and governments, “Uganda is not left out.”
Namubiru also added that knowing French not only creates a bond between Ugandans and the French but opens business opportunities for Uganda with the Francophone communities.
“We know that there are many opportunities that favour French speaking people. In Uganda for example, we don’t have many tour guides who speak French yet tourism is one of the most growing sectors we have in the Country and those are some of the opportunities we are missing,” Namubiru said.
“France is the most open country to the rest of the People in the world,” she added.
It’s also the second most used languages in diplomacy, 3rd in business and 4th on the internet.