Promotion Of Bilingualism: Efforts Multiply

The National Bilingualism Week kicked off in Douala amid concerns to embrace the two languages and make use of opportunities

Effective bilingualism in a multicultural context would mean citizens speaking and understanding both English and French languages without the help of an interpreter or translator. The aspiration featured in speeches, sketches, songs and poems presented during the official launch of the National Bilingualism Week on the campus of the Government Bilingual High School (GBHS) Sodiko in the Douala IV Subdivision yesterday January 30, 2017.

After listening to presentations whose messages centred on promoting bilingualism as a force for excellence and social inclusion from pupils and students from various schools who converged on GBHS Sodiko campus for the official launch, Governor Samuel Dieudonne Ivaha Diboua of the Littoral Region described the practice of speaking English and French languages as one that builds a strong nation. According to the Wouri Divisional Delegate of Secondary Education, Janvier Yomba, the school is an intellectual milieu whose objective is also to train students in the two languages towards Vision 2035 of becoming an emerging economy.  “We have to concretize the practice of speaking and writing the two official languages, seeing that we have the achievements of being bilingual as a nation with our membership of the Commonwealth and La Francophonie.”

On ways of promoting the practice of bilingualism, some schools have set apart a day every week during which French students speak English and English students speak French. At GBHS Deido, for example, students give a summary of every lesson taught in the two languages during the bilingualism day every week. Marc Nseke Edimo, Principal of GBHS Deido, is optimistic that practice is going a long way to inculcate language skills and the notion of social inclusion in the students. The Week to Yollande Leonie Etame, GBHS Bojongo student, gives students the opportunity to get out of ignorance of the importance of being perfectly bilingual. “With bilingualism we can be united, have peace and harmony which is opportunity to resolve the crisis in the Anglophone section of the country, which is not permitting scholars to go back to school.”

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