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LE FRANÇAIS A-T-IL AVENIR À L’UNIVERSITÉ DE DODOMA?

LE FRANÇAIS A-T-IL AVENIR À L’UNIVERSITÉ DE DODOMA?
Татьяна Белова, ph.d. филологических наук

Джамилла Дауда, ассистент

Университет Додомы, Танзания

Участник конференции

The article analyses multilingualism in international languages at the University of Dodoma which is the biggest University in East Africa situated in the central Tanzania. The history showsthat the degree programs basing on international languages are on the way to perish at this university while the need for these languages is going higher and higher every day. It points out its benefits in education in today’s international job quantifications. It also shows the importance of multilingualism to both academicians and students and gives vivid examples from these people when monolingualism becomes a barrier to communication. The title is purposely presented in French to attract readers.

Keywords: Multilingualism, international languages, French language, language policy.

The notion of Multilingualism originates from two Latin words which are “multi” with the meaning of many and “lingua” which means languages. Multilingualism therefore is the ability to speak several languages. It is used interchangeably with bilingualism which typically refers to the situation of being able to speak two languages [1]. Multilingualism has become so vital especially in international languages such as English, French, Arabic Spanish and Kiswahili and that makes it significant for higher learning institutions to employ these languages in various degree programs so that the graduates may fit in the international job qualifications in this rapid growing world.

French language has been preferred in this article in a sense that it is a working language in most of the international institutions such as: the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the Council of Europe, the African Union and the International Federation of Association Football. It is also one of the preferred working languages of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

The statistics show that French language is a wide spread language in the world and Africa in particular. French is one of the very few languages spoken all over the world, ranked the sixth most widely spoken language after Mandarin Chinese (over a billion speakers), English, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic. There are currently over 220 million French speakers worldwide, including 72 million so-called partial French speakers. Europe accounts for 39.87% of the French-speaking population, sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean for 36.03%, Northern Africa and the Middle East for 15.28%, America and the Caribbean for 7.66% and Asia/Oceania for 1.16% [2].

This paper discusses the importance of multilingualism in International languages as the world is in very closer ties today and it aims at investigating the future for the French language in Tanzania, specifically at the University of Dodoma.

The article traces the introduction of French language in Tanzania, its motivation, progress and setbacks and suggests the way forward. That is why this paper has «Le Français a-t-il avenir à l’université de Dodoma?» as a title which means «Is there any future for French language at the University of Dodoma?». The University of Dodoma in this article is visualised as the source of international actors in Tanzania, East Africa and Africa continent at large.

The main feature of Tanzania’s Education system is bilingual policy, which requires children to learn both English and Kiswahili. English is essential as it links Tanzania with the rest of the world [3]. However, Tanzania is a country where more than 120 vernacular languages exist among different tribes, Kiswahili is a national language. English is a medium of instructions from secondary school level to higher education.

English was introduced to Tanzania’s Education by the British during its colonial administration and was made the main prerequisite for such education [4]. This makes it evident that any Tanzanian student at the university level is without doubt a multilingual with at least three languages which are: a mother tongue, Kiswahili and English. Being multilingual in local languages has no impact on the international job qualifications. Tanzanian students are bilinguals in this context of international job market with only Kiswahili and English. It is evident that there is a need of at least an additional international language for them to qualify better because their professional life needs more than Kiswahili and English can give.

French language was introduced for the first time in Tanzania by the Missionaries before the independence. It is the missionaries who taught French in missionary schools by that time. In 1963, French language was officially included in Tanzanian education programs at the East African University as well as the University of Dar es salaam with the aim of strengthening the solidarity in order to combat the enemies of the independent African continent.

Thus, the summit of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 set the strategies to teach French in the English speaking countries and to teach English in the French speaking countries. Then French language was officially introduced to some secondary schools in Tanzania in 1966.

In 1973 there were about 40 schools where French was taught and about 80 teachers who were handling French classes. There were all the materials necessary for teaching and learning, there was an oral exam to motivate the teachers and learners. The ministry of Education organized several seminars for teachers. There were French clubs in secondary schools that motivated students to practise French language. All these contributed to the best results of the students in the final examination.

In 1973 French language was introduced in advanced level (form five and six) for the first time at Mirambo Secondary school  and Zanaki Secondary school so that the students who had passed their form four examination could continue studying French in higher levels. But today the improvement of French language is generally not promising in Tanzanian public schools and universities.

In view of the current situation regarding French language, the interviews were conducted among University of Dodoma students specialising in French language to see the way French language is handled in secondary schools where they did their studies.

The question regarding to motivation gives a very negative response. Students studying French at the university reveal that there is no external motivation to the language except from the teacher who taught the language. Some students declared that there was nobody who motivated them, it’s theirs own efforts after getting good marks in the subjects they found themselves developing a good attitude towards that language. “The society in general is not motivated. It is not exposed to the world and this situation limits communication as well as opportunities” urged one of the students.

The students raise the age factor in the introduction of French language in Tanzanian public schools. Many of the interviewed students regret to have started learning French late. French is introduced in public schools at the secondary school level in Form one: it means at the 8th year of their studies where most of these students are thirteen to fourteen years old. And this is not to all public schools; it is only a few schools where French is taught.

It is better to introduce multilingualism to a child at a lower age when the brain is still young in order to familiarize him/her to new sounds that will be met later on the way. The phonological aspect of French language which is considered hard by learners can be better taught to a child in early age which may simplify mastering the language with time. One student took an example of Qur’an schools where young children are taught Arabic language and are able to master it without any problem. This is also very possible with French, “he added. It was as a result found that students drop the subject in form two because the language is considered hard. 

There are no enough teachers to teach the subject. One person has about 150 non-motivated students in form one and two, and has to assure classes to about 50 students who choose to continue with French in form three and four.

Not only that but also these schools lack materials for the language; the situation that hinder the learning process. The schools depend on the teacher for a particular subject. The success or the failure of a student has a lot to do with the teacher. As a result, five to ten students hardly pass the examination. The rest fail. Because there is no enough motivation, even those who pass are likely to choose other subjects to do in advanced classes but not French. Very few succeed to reach at the university level. This is a brief analysis of French language in Tanzanian public schools.

But still the government has hope in French language as well as other international languages despite all the challenges. For example, The University of Dodoma has been offering a bachelor degree in French since its inauguration in 2007. The total number of students graduated in this program for the first time was 15. However, despite this small number of students, it has been observed that the number is decreasing from year to year and hence the number of students graduated in 2012 was 9. In the year 2014, only 7 Congolese students graduated BA French at The University of Dodoma. The same situation for the students who are to graduate in 2016 and 2017 the University of Dodoma has no BA French students. There are only two students pursuing BA French who are to graduate in 2018.

Why is the number of students in French and other international languages decreasing from time to time? It is possible that this need of languages in one way or another is not obvious to the community of elites: the University of Dodoma in particular.

Then six questions aiming at investigating among the community of the University of Dodoma were prepared. The aim was to see how   multilingualism in international languages is valued and to suggest the best way forward to ameliorate the current situation as the degree programs in international languages particularly in French are about to perish. These questions were posed to 10 teachers teaching French, Arabic or English, 10 teachers teaching other subjects, 10 students studying French and 20 students studying either Kiswahili or English.

For the question regarding the importance of knowing more than one international language, 20% of the 50 people interviewed show that it is important to know different international languages because it helps to obtain information from their original sources. It means that with the knowledge of various languages, one can access materials from the languages they were originally written to get away from translated ones which reduce some of the original meanings. If the document was originally written in Arabic and later on translated in French for example, the people who know Arabic will have an advantage of clarity. This has been revealed by some multilingual instructors during their researches for teaching materials. In this regard, French language should be encouraged in order to widen the scope of intellectuals in their journey to study the world and get enough access to teaching materials.

20% of the respondents found that   the knowledge of international languages is important in order to increase knowledge of the world and to know the culture of different people. Language is culture in general and today people are exposed to different parts of the world for various purposes such as education, business, tourism etc. Knowing the languages may help to simplify the process one is engaged in a particular country. It’s always a pleasure to talk to people in their language both to the speaker and to the listener.

30% found multilingualism important for carrier development. Most of the respondents in this regard were the instructors. They argue that multilingualism in international languages helps in conducting research in various studies and present concrete results. Taking an example of literature domain, many books have been translated in different languages. Studies on the language use in those particular books need extensive readings and comparison of various language tools to come out with good results.

30% no less, found the importance of multilingualism in diplomatic issues and scholarships. It has been observed in some countries people are required to undergo a one year course in learning their language such as French in France while it could have been studied earlier. This situation prolongs the duration of studies and hence wastage of time.

In regard of the situation above, the interviewees proposed the ways to improve international language learning at the University of Dodoma which are:

  • 1. To organize special courses for pure beginners for International languages so that people in need could get some knowledge in languages and let that knowledge appear on their certificates. This means that they may at least be given options to any international language and be taught that language during the three years of their studies together with whatever degree program they are pursuing.
  • 2. To provide enough materials necessary for teaching and learning. In fact language learning requires the materials such as audio-visual materials   which allow students to be able to see the language in practice. This helps in correcting errors relating to pronunciation of sounds of a particular language.
  • 3.  To engage enough instructors in languages related programs in order to facilitate communication and consultations to clear some doubts in the process of learning. Students declare to have limited consultation time with their instructors due to the fact that they are few and always busy in classrooms.
  • 4. Toarrange for internships, visits and study tours to the countries where French is a mother tongue. This method can be effective because language itself is culture. Living with people who speak the language, one can easily capture a lot of vocabulary that are rarely found in class.

By concluding, this research calls upon Tanzanians to wake up and learn French and other international languages for development.

This research however comes out with an affirmative response to the question “Le français a-t-il avenir à l’université de Dodoma?” Yes, French language has a bright future at the University of Dodoma, because elites who are to educate the society on the importance of International languages are aware of the situation. French language unlike other international languages is a working language in many international organisations that is an international opportunity. Tanzanians should hurry up for it. The government has already introduced French language.  The prevailing problem is the way it is handled. Language departments should be well equipped with materials to simplify the learning process. The degree programs of the University of Dodoma are well designed and they attract many people inside and outside the country. Therefore the University of Dodoma should see the importance of letting French language be one of the compulsory courses in the degree programs so that the graduates may be able to compete in the global job market.

There should be conducted international languages conferences in universities and language clubs in schools should be encouraged to let people see what is in international languages. The Tanzanian society should also open the door to all international languages so that the University of Dodoma can get more students for French language.

References:

  • 1. Lyons, J.  Languages and Linguistics: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 1981.
  • 2. http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/francophony/the-status-of-french-in-the-world/ accessed on 07th June 2016.
  • 3. United Republic of Tanzania. “Education.” National Website <http:/www.tanzania.go.tz/accessed on 17th April 2016.
  •  4. Zaline M. Roy-Campbell, Martha A.S. Qorro, Language Crisis in Tanzania, Mkuki na Nyota, 1997.  
Комментарии: 5

Натела Хинчагашвили

Dear colleagues, your article was to me relevant, interesting and useful - the same issues we care about Russian Language in Georgia. I read the article carefully - all very informative, roads, and your experience and your observation - research. Much will take note. Thanks a lot for work and good luck, good luck, good luck!

Чонмурунова Нуржамал Жумагазиевна

Уважаемая коллега! Спасибо Вам, за очень интересный доклад. Желаю успеха! С уважением, Нуржамал.

Баласанян Марианна Альбертовна

Thank you. Work is distinguished by the novelty and the conclusiveness of ideas.

Хамзе Димитрина

Уважаемые коллеги! Большое Вам спасибо за актуальный и перспективный доклад! Желаю успехов в Вашей работе! С уважением: Димитрина

Кобякова Ирина

Thank you. I am very pleased to read such review.
Комментарии: 5

Натела Хинчагашвили

Dear colleagues, your article was to me relevant, interesting and useful - the same issues we care about Russian Language in Georgia. I read the article carefully - all very informative, roads, and your experience and your observation - research. Much will take note. Thanks a lot for work and good luck, good luck, good luck!

Чонмурунова Нуржамал Жумагазиевна

Уважаемая коллега! Спасибо Вам, за очень интересный доклад. Желаю успеха! С уважением, Нуржамал.

Баласанян Марианна Альбертовна

Thank you. Work is distinguished by the novelty and the conclusiveness of ideas.

Хамзе Димитрина

Уважаемые коллеги! Большое Вам спасибо за актуальный и перспективный доклад! Желаю успехов в Вашей работе! С уважением: Димитрина

Кобякова Ирина

Thank you. I am very pleased to read such review.
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