Sunday, July 18, 2021

Why UNIZIK Unveils New Program "French For Specific Purposes"- University Lecturers Speak

By Victor Bieni

The unveiling of a new program called: "French For Specific Purposes" by the Department of Modern European Languages, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria has proven to be the most effective way, or panacea towards ending the challenges of insecurity in Nigeria as revealed by investigation.

The media learnt this pen-ultimate weekend from Dr. Scholastical Ezeodili, the Coordinator, Dr. Olivia Ezeafulukwe and other lecturers, coordinators of the new Certificate program: "French For Specific Purposes", Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State capital while investigating how the study of French language can reduce to the bearest minimum or completely eradicate the challenges of insecurity in Nigeria.

Our reporter in a separate interview granted to some of the green academia, University lecturers in the Department, who defined French as a beautiful, rich, melodious, an analytical and language of love that structures thought and develops critical thinking, which is a valuable skill for discussions and negotiations.

The education stakeholders in the European Languages Department stated that language is culture and culture is people's ways of life. French has secured its status as a top international language. The University lecturers noted that the study of it gives one access to the world; studying it makes you smarter, more useful in a career as it remains the language of the future, second most useful language in the world, spoken on all the five continents of the World alongside English language.

Dr. Ezeodili told our reporter that the new Certificate program: "French For Specific Purposes" is a two- month intensive French language course for those without a previous knowledge of the French language, which she said is targeted at various professions like medics, the military, paramilitary, customs, police, journalists, businessmen, immigration, and other professionals.

Dr. Ezeodili while responding to the questions asked by our reporter on why the program was birthed in UNIZIK, its socio-economic impact to Professionals, and advice to Governments towards reducing the challenges of insecurity, she said: "Every profession has its own register, be it engineering, medicine, law,
defence, education, businesses, politics and others. We urge everyone to avail themselves, utilise the opportunity and make themselves relevant in their profession".

"While the first month starts from the basics to the advanced level, the second month is focused on the French language needs of the particular professional group in focus. The module for the first month include amongst others: Beginners French, intermediate French, Advanced French, and Examination. The second month will focus on: Introduction to specialized vocabulary, domain specific vocabulary, use of specialized vocabulary, and term paper presentation".

"French For Specific Purposes" is meant for people in different professions for some reasons, especially the immigration. Every profession has its own registers, be it military, journalism, law, medicine and others. They need this language to excel in their various areas of specializations. The immigration officers are always in the border Communicating with foreigners; not in English language. Foreigners are trooping into the country. Majority of them are our neighbours from Francophone countries. The security of this country is at stake. Therefore, there is need for the knowledge of French to checkmate the adverse effects. It is now compulsory for the military to have the knowledge of French before their promotion to another levels.
The security of this country is very paramount. For this reason, the armed forces need it. Nigeria is surrounded by Francophone countries".

"Our entry qualifications for this program is interesting. You must be a professional in your field. The advantages of this program are many. Those who don't have opportunity to go to school before will be glad to embrace the initiative as it will afford them the opportunities to learn in the University".

"The knowledge of French that this program will give to the armed forces will reduce insecurity. Help Nigerians to learn the language of their neighbors in countries such as Benin Republic, Togo, Cameroun, Ivory Coast, and others. Mounting a new program is a plus to the institution. It shows that there is an improvement in the institution as the Vice -Chancellor of the University is excited. Without Communication we are nowhere. The world is going global. We cannot only be contented with only Nigerian languages, or English language. Business men and women need it.
Professionals are the target and it is meant for those without the prior knowledge of French language".

"My Advice to Government on the ways French language can help in checkmating insecurity is to send, sponsor their staff, workers to acquire this French knowledge in UNIZIK. Though am not a security expert, but I know that the Knowledge of Languages can actually reduce the spate of insecurity in Nigeria. The local government should create awareness on the need to learn the language of our neighbours. Togo is a Francophone country but every Togolese speaks English fluently. Government should sponsor security agencies to acquire the knowledge of French. This will help to checkmate insecurity in the country".

In a separate interview with some of the coordinators of the program, a French Lecturer in the Department of European language, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Dr. Olivia Ezeafulukwe told our reporter that the birth of "French For Specific Purposes" as a new program in UNIZIK is being established as a result of the demand of the people of different professions to acquire the knowledge of French so as to be internationally recognized.

Our reporter while nvestigating further on the reasons for the unveiling of the new program "French For Specific Purposes", Dr. Olivia said : "The knowledge of French and English will help you to communicate with the 70% of the World population. French language was made compulsory in 1999. National Policy on Education, NPE encourages that pupils in primary schools, Students in secondary Schools, undergraduates in Universities are taught French, but the issue is implementation. Nigeria should rise up to the Challenges".

"My advice to Nigerian Government is that they should take French language seriously. Our lack of knowledge of French is one of the reasons why Nigerians are not employable in most of the international organizations; West African or African Agencies, Commissions, Departments. Our diplomats also fail in their representation of their country because they lack the knowledge of the language of the country they were sent to. They are novice to the language of the country, atimes they resort to an interpreter".

"The program curriculum is tailored to what the professional is doing. The category of people that qualifies for this program are only Professionals. The program is not meant for secondary School students nor undergraduates, neither is it an all comers program rather meant for those in police, military, lawyers, medical doctors, journalists, paramilitary, business men and women".

"Four of UNIZIK Staff were trained in Abuja by French Government to domesticate the language in Nigeria.
The money invested by French Government may be a waste if Nigerian Government refuses to support this initiative. This is a clarion call to the Federal Government, and other Professional bodies to key into this program by giving encouragement to their workers in various Ministries, Departments, Agencies through giving of incentives, time, monetary support, and others so as to enable their staff and professionals acquire this knowledge by attending this two months program in UNIZIK".

Speaking further, the assistant Coordinator of the program, Dr. Olivia Ezeafulukwe who threw more light, answered the questions on how the Federal Government of Nigeria can support the French Government towards the actualization of this objectives so as to serve as a platform by which insecurity in the country can be checkmated. Dr. Olivia Ezeafulukwe stated that not less than four persons, herself inclusive were among the University lecturers in the Department of European language of the institution that got the training in France to domesticate the program.

She noted further that UNIZIK is one of the three Nigerian Universities that French Government gave the go ahead order to establish the program. She said: "French For Specific Purposes" to institutionalize French Cultures in Nigeria. The curriculum is tailored in line with your professions. To live and do well in Africa, to thrive very well in your profession, you really need to be versatile in languages, especially French. Infact there are more French speaking countries than English speaking countries in Africa. If you want to do well as a journalist, you need French language. You want to be recognized internationally, you need to do your commentaries in other languages. To get international jobs, to go International in your profession, to be competent in occupying international positions you need the knowledge of French".

"French Government has done their part. Nigerian Government should encourage their workers. They should sponsor their workers to UNIZIK to acquire the knowledge of French. Conversational French will help people of different professions and other programs that will follow to deepen their knowledge".

Dr. Olivia then urged the Federal Government of Nigeria, heads of various Ministries, Departments, Agencies and parastatals in the three tiers of Government to avail their staff the opportunities of learning this international language so as to improve on their jobs, professions, areas of specializations by allowing them in their places of work to acquire the knowledge. Also, that the knowledge will help individual businesses to promote good organizational behaviours, growth and development of the society, socio-economic development, and educational sector sustainability and development.

Our reporter went further to investigate why the new program was unveiled in UNIZIK, Mr Shegun, a lecturer in the Department who doubled as one of the Coordinators of the program was also interviewed. He stated that "French For Specific Purposes" came into existence this year in the institution because the knowledge is very imperative, also an added advantage to the institution and a support to French Government in promoting their Cultures in Nigeria.

When asked on his advise to Nigerian Government, he said: " My advice to Nigerian Government is to take the language seriously as it will help to improve the security situation of the country.

Mr. Shegun recalled how the former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjor was disqualified, lost his elections in a bid to become the Secretary-General of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU) to John Kufo, the then President of Ghana because former Nigerian President hadn't the knowledge of French language.

In his words: "French language language is very helpful to everyone not only to the police but to all professions. Knowing the language is an added advantage. It will help you to master the terminologies, do your businesses in other countries, practice your professions without an interpreter.

"The knowledge will help to promote French language and cultures. Language is culture. The French Government have interest in UNIZIK to promote their language. French Government should do more publicity on this initiative. Nigerian Government apart from making the language a general studies, course in the Universities irrespective of the course, they should as well support the initiative".

"There is no doubt that this development will reduce insecurity in the country. The knowledge of French will also promote our economies, create employment opportunities for our Citizens".

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