There is a growing concern about the attitude of most Nigerians towards the study of French in our schools. A suggestion that a foreign language such as French be taught in schools sounds absurd to many people in Nigeria. Most Nigerians are not sufficiently informed about the usefulness of French in our educational system or its importance as an international language. They believe that studying French language in school is a waste of time.
French is a foreign language that is useful throughout the world. It is the second foreign language that is most frequently taught in the world after English. French is a foreign language that can give the students a lot of choices in their studies or careers.
French is a language of culture, politics, art, fashion, publicity, technology, science and cuisine.
The world is gradually transforming into a global village and countries are doing all it takes to meet up with the challenges of globalization. The challenges involve currency, culture, language, civilization and so forth but despite all this challenges, Nigerians are doing little or nothing as regard the study of French in our schools.
The need for french in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized as Nigeria is surrounded by Chad, Niger, Benin and cameroun and to have a smooth interaction with these neighbouring countries which are all French speaking countries, it is desirable for every Nigerian to speak French. Nigeria’s geographical, economic, diplomatic as well as her educational and research needs makes it imperative for her to give adequate attention and priority to the learning of French.
The inability of the majority of Nigerians to speak French has been resulting in occupational loss to them. The ability to speak french is one of the criteria to gain employment in international offices. It is sad to know that the United Nations Secretary General’s position should have been occupied by former president of Nigeria, Cheif Olusegun Obasanjo but he lost the prestigious office to Kofi Anan of Ghana due to his inability to speak French. Ngozi Okonjo Iwela got the job with World Bank as MD (managing director) as a result of her ability to speak French and English fluently. Nigeria is a member of a sub regional organization called ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States). There are more French speaking states in ECOWAS. Recent security challenges in West Africa has brought about employment opportunities for Nigerian graduates as our military is now recruiting French graduates as interpreters so as to improve the communication and relationship that exists between Nigeria and these French speaking countries. It is also interesting to know that students who are interested in business and sales should be vast in the knowledge of French as it is a known fact that France which is a French speaking country has the world’s fifth largest economy and any student who wants to participate in world business needs to improve his/her learning in French.
In view of the importance of learning French language today, government should provide adequate support to schools, French departments should be commissioned by the Ministry of Education in Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Secondary schools and Primary schools.
In conclusion, I think the study of French should be made compulsory at all levels of Education and students should be encouraged to take the study of the language seriously as opportunities are enormous for those who study the language.
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