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Akufo Addo Launches Special Initiative In Advance French Studies

By Adu Koranteng 

The Scholarship secretariat in partnership with the French Embassy, has launched the Presidents Special Initiative in advance studies in French in all language institutions in Ghana

The event which brought stakeholders in the education sector, students and other dignitaries together at the University of Ghana Business School highlighted the importance of French education in Ghana.

Launching the event, Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, commended the Scholarship Secretariat and its Registrar for promoting the image of Ghana abroad with several educational packages. He stated that the Registrars decision to venture into French Education was a laudable one since government is working so hard to enhance education which is the key to enhancing economic growth.

“So far as we are in power, our education programs will continue to increase and will be free and available for all. There are several opportunities that come with learning and mastering the French language since Ghana is lucky to be surrounded by francophone countries. There are economic benefits to speaking the French language, however we are not exploiting these opportunities.”

Mr Adutwum thus urged beneficiary institutions to strive and develop their own curriculum in French to help sustain and advance the study of French in Ghana.

According to the Deputy Education Minister, There are 76 million native speakers of the French language in the world. That comes with additional 236 million daily speakers of the language in the world with 110 million being secondary speakers. He noted that being bilingual helps to enhance a person’s cognitive development and also helps to fight dementia. He therefore urged students to take advantage of the opportunities offered them to advance their studies in French from the masters to the PHD level for free.

The Registrar of the Scholarships Secretariat, Kingsley Agyemang, in a statement said the initiative centres on three measures ‒ learning, communicating and creating in French.

The programme is underpinned by President Emmanuel Macron’s revelation of an international strategy France is adopting to promote the French language and multilingualism.

“This attests to the fact that France is not only committed to supporting education systems in francophone countries, particularly Africa, but beyond the French-speaking world, with a view to ensuring that the language benefits new generations while respecting multilingualism,” Mr Agyemang said.

He added that the initiative is in line with President Akufo-Addo’s resolve to make sure that the study of French becomes an integral part of the curriculum at all levels of education in Ghana.

“It is very significant to mention the fact that this special project perfectly aligns with the vision and commitment of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to transform the education system at all levels,” he said.

Mr Agyemang explained that President Akufo-Addo believes “bilingualism is inseparable from quality education and also represents an asset for access to employment, especially in multinational companies”.

He said in the 2019/20 academic year alone, the Scholarships Secretariat awarded scholarships to 880 students, 601 of whom are undertaking studies in French.

“It is also significant to note that the number of language students has increased with the upload of six new colleges of education to be part of the programme, as a result of their upgrade to tertiary status,” he said.

Describing how the initiative will be implemented, the Scholarships Registrar said the secretariat and the French embassy will publicize the scholarships and indicate the number of qualified Ghanaians to be given awards every year, in accordance with the budgetary capacity of both implementing agencies.

The selection process will also be administered by a committee comprising representatives of the French embassy and the Secretariat, he said.

The beneficiaries will be made to sign an agreement which will, among other things, require them to maintain good academic standing throughout the programme in order to merit continuing to receive funding.

“The Embassy of France and the Scholarships Secretariat reserve the right to withdraw funding from a beneficiary found to have defaulted in any of the requirements,” he said.

“Also, the Scholarships Secretariat will put in place a strict mechanism where beneficiary students will be bonded, to compel them to return home to apply the skills and knowledge acquired for national development.”

Mr Agyemang admonished potential beneficiaries to take advantage of the opportunities and pledge “to be good ambassadors of Ghana in their host country”. He gave his assurance that the Scholarships Secretariat is committed to extending the support the students require to make their period of study enjoyable. Registrar of the Scholarships Secretariat, Kingsley Agyemang

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