Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Bilingualism Week Launched in Yaounde

It is a week to celebrate the two official languages of the country.

Week-long activities to commemorate the French and English languages which is significant to the history of Cameroon began yesterday January 28 at the Government's Girls Technical College, Yaounde (CETIF Ngoa Ekelle) with the launch of the 8th edition of the National Week of Bilingualism by the Secretary of State in Charge of Teachers Training Education at the Ministry of Secondary Education, Mounouna Foutsou. The official commemoration of the day will take place on February 1 in Fundong in the North West Region.

Holding under the theme "Bilingualism, A Cornerstone of Professionalism for An Emerging Cameroon," activities during the event focused on the theme as students and pupils from different schools in the capital city presented poems, songs, sketches and debates which depicted the importance of every Cameroonian to speak and write English and French, which is a major tool for any developing country. Mounouna Foutsou in his speech said the perfect mastery of the English and French Languages is a perfect vessel for professionalism. As such, he invited the education community to work vigorously to train citizens fit for the emerging Cameroon come 2035.

The event was an opportunity for students to hail the BEPC Special Bilingual Programme introduced into their examination programme which is a means to get students interested in the two official languages. Other steps to promote bilingualism in Cameroon are the Pedagogic Day of Bilingualism in Schools which is every Wednesday as well as encouraging teachers to end their lessons in the opposite language of teaching. Although students through poems and sketches revealed that it is Cameroon which is bilingual and not Cameroonian and that English and French should be given same status not just on paper.

The National Day of Bilingualism entails the organisation of activities in schools and the community to showcase the importance of bilingualism. This will be done through intellectual, pedagogic, cultural, artistic, recreational and sport activities which will enable learners to explore the opportunities inherent in the mastery of both official languages.

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