Jamaica integrating French as language of exchange

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Jamaica integrating French as language of exchange

Friday, December 13, 2019

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ST ANDREW, Jamaica — State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Alando Terrelonge, has welcomed the opportunity for local teachers to be better trained in the delivery of French to their students.

“We recognise that if our youth are truly to move forward… if they are to continue to lead, inspire and transform their world, then they must be able to speak in different languages,” he said.

Terrelonge was speaking at the official launch of 'Integrate French as a Language of Exchange/Intégrer le Français comme Langue d'Échanges (IFLE) CARICOM Project' at the French Embassy in St Andrew, recently.

Jamaica is one of several regional territories to benefit from the project, funded by the Government of France, which aims to bridge communication and bolster derivable benefits between English and French-speaking Caribbean countries through linguistic, cultural and entrepreneurial exchanges.

The Education Ministry and Alliance Francaise de la Jamaique, among other stakeholders, will work in tandem with the IFLE Project Team to implement the programme locally.

Among the key target outcomes is the short-listing of at least five pilot schools for programme implementation by mid-2020, and commencement of specialised training for teachers of French.

It is expected that the training of teachers will better equip them to prepare students for programmed piloting of the relevant examinations at the third, fifth and sixth-form levels that will enable the youngsters to, among other things, apply for entry to universities in France.

Terrelonge said that the undertaking is timely and “a move in the right direction, if we are to truly develop regional integration”.

“We cannot speak of a [regional] community of neighbours if there is only one official working language within that community… because that values one language above the others… and gives the impression that you are valuing one people, one culture, and one identity above the others,” he argued.

In his remarks, Charge d'Affaires at the French Embassy, Laurent Geslin, said implementation of the IFLE CARICOM Project is consistent with France President, Emmanuel Macron's focus on facilitating multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral cooperation, utilising the French language as the primary medium.

For his part, President of the Alliance Francaise de la Jamaique, Pierre Lemaire, said the entity “is quite happy to be part of the builders of bridges between the [participating] countries”.

—JIS


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