France launches French language project in W. Equatoria
February 12, 2011 (JUBA) – A delegation of the French Embassy arrived Yambio on Thursday 10 February 2011 to launch a project called the Yambio Multi Purpose Francophone Association in Western Equatoria state tasked to foster developmental activities for French speaking people in South Sudan, particularly in Western Equatoria state.
The delegations were received by the acting minister of education Gibson Bullen Wande, who is also the state minister of information and communications.
In an interview with Sudan Tribune, the team leader who is the cooperation and cultural counselor in the French Embassy in Khartoum, Eric Pinon, said:
“As people are living in a globalized world, there is a need to master some languages. We do know that people in western Equatoria state are not going to learn French just for pleasure just for the sake of it, they want it to be effective and efficient to help them in their carrier, to help the state to develop diplomatic economic growth relationship with its neighbors” he added.
He said that French is a regional language and it can be a good tool being the prospect of regional integrations and economic point of view.
He revealed that they cannot do it on a very large scale and have selected Western Equatoria for the project as it borders two French-speaking countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR).
Sudan’s civil war forced many people from Western Equatoria to seek refuge in these countries leading to many returnees speaking and writing French language fluently.
Pinon urged the government of Western Equatoria to agree to setting up a bilateral project in Western Equatoria to teach French in several schools with the help of the French government. He said this way French could be properly taught and teachers will be trained. He said he expected such a scheme would be successful as it had worked in other places.
Meanwhile the acting education minister Wande said “the idea of building the program depends on the closeness of the Francophone countries.” Wande stressed that “the state government believes that now Western Equatoria state in particular that borders Central African Republic and DR Congo were by they speak French that one will help us build economically and socially at least to build us beef with the other countries.”
He assured the delegations that the government of Eastern Equatoria state will cooperate and work hand in hand with the embassy and look forward to see how the project could be explored.
The minister further disclosed that “during the two wars of 1956 (to 1973) and 1983 (to 2005) a good number of the Western Equatoria state took refugee to DR Congo and Central Africa Republic, the French speaking countries.”
Wande said he is optimistic that “with the program within the state or southern Sudan that focuses on such languages it will be very helpful for the French speaking people to explore their knowledge.”
The meeting ended with a handing over of about 200 French text books for primary Schools by Pinon. He added that materials for secondary schools and higher institutions text books will follow.
The delegation also paid a courtesy visit to Maridi National Teachers’ Institute, led by the speaker of the state legislative Assembly Bukulu Edward.
Bukulu hailed the visit and called upon the French embassy “to invest more in education in Western Equatoria state.”
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/French-Embassy-launches-French,37974