“One of The Most Important Hallmarks of Our Education System”

Julius Mih,  Inspecteur de Pédagogie en charge de la Promotion du bilinguisme au Minedub.

Why is the practice and promotion of bilingualism in schools in Cameroon done in a disorderly manner?

To situate you within the context of bilingualism in Cameroon, bilingualism remains one of the most important hallmarks of our education system. The teaching and learning of English and French is guided first of all by our constitutional provision which states inter alia: English and French shall be official languages of equal value. Law No98/004 of 14 April 1998 is to lay down guidelines for education in Cameroon, reaffirms the states responsibility in the promotion of bilingualism. The State shall guarantee bilingualism at all levels of education as a factor of national unity and integration. To say that bilingualism as practiced and promoted in our school system is done in a disorderly manner is an over statement. English and French, vectors of bilingualism are taught in a systematic manner with a well-defined content, teaching methods, and didactic material and assessment strategies. This is done in accordance with the prescriptions of the National Curriculum.

Is it right for pupils from francophone background to attend anglo-saxon schools?

As concerns the fact that children from Francophone background are in English medium schools, I would have this to say; the Cameroon education system is organized into two sub systems: the English sub system and the French speaking sub system respectively with each sub system preserving its specificities in methods of evaluation and certification. Parents are free to send their children to any of the sub systems of their choice. The state does not intervene on the choice of the kind of sub systems the parents wish to send their children to.

Are there any truly bilingual classrooms in Cameroun?

In strict compliance with the Education Law No98, nursery and primary school teachers are required to teach the second official language to their pupils. Furthermore, primary school pupils are assessed in the second official language- French for Anglophone pupils and English for francophone pupils. For quite some time now, private education partners and owners have been opening bilingual nursery and primary schools all over the country with the aim of providing truly bilingual educational environments for the children. In some of these bilingual schools, content subjects including Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, and Citizenship are taught in either English or French as the case may be. In other schools, there is a juxtaposition of the English and the French sub systems with either English or French as a subject in the time table. Yet, in others some selected subjects are taught in either English or French.

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